After a custody court hearing in North Carolina, alleged parental kidnapper Joanne McDowell was able to flee to her home country Canada and get another court to give her custody. Despite a Felony Warrant for Parental Kidnapping in the United States, she was able to get a Canadian Restraining Order against her child’s biological parent. We can’t believe in this global era of joint custody and coparenting that any Canadian court issue such and order and claim jurisdiction for a case that was already adjudicated in the United States. Kelly Rutherford tried to get a New York Judge to give her custody but Monaco had rightful venue for that case and Kelly was not able to venue shop like Joanne did. Rutherford’s former spouse now has rightful physical custody of the children.
There is the e huge risk for the accused parental abductor that is able to keep custody of the child until he or she reaches the age of majority (18 years). Many of these alleged kidnapped children as adults will determine on their own what happened to them. It is much easier these days with the Internet. The founder of the organization Take Root tells the story how as an adult child, she figured out that she was kidnapped by her mom and almost immediately severed ties and began a relationship with her biological father. There are other similar stories of adult-child that eventually figured out that their parent wrongfully kidnapped them from the other parent out of anger and revenge against the other parent and not for their protection.
So the risk for Joanne McDowell if she continues down her current path is that her child will not necessarily be loyal to her. We’ve seen these kidnapped children follow the money and once they reach eighteen, if they determine on their own what happened to them the adult-children will start a new relationship with their estranged parent. It might be for a new car, college tuition or even a new family including step-siblings.
During these Holidays, we really would like to see Joanne do the right thing and take steps to reunify her child with its biological parent. It’s time for everyone to move along and provide the best possible future for her child.