A search for a missing baby cut a path from Mesa, Arizona, all the way to California. Now, the baby has been returned to his father while the child's mother and her parents are sitting in jail on various charges related to the kidnapping.
Child custody disputes are often emotional and have the potential to draw extended family members into the dispute rather deeply -- which this case certainly illustrates.
It also illustrates the problems that come from trying to take the situation out of the courtroom and into your own hands. The results are seldom good and the parent who acts in that manner may permanently ruin his or her chances for anything other than supervised visitation at best.
Many parents simply refuse to grasp the idea that a court has the right to decide how custody is divided when the parents can't agree. By abducting that child, however, the parent not only shows that he or she refuses to recognize the court's authority and work within the law but demonstrates an unwillingness to work with the other parent in any way -- something that the courts see as inherently bad. The prevailing wisdom is that a child needs to have a relationship with both parents whenever possible -- even if those parents no longer get along.
In this case, the whole thing seems to have been set in motion because the judge appeared ready to expand the father's visitation time with his son. The mother of the child and her parents have accused the father of being abusive -- a charge he denies and the court has not been able to substantiate.
What has been established, however, is that the mother purposefully changed her appearance and dressed her infant son as a girl in order to avoid detection.
Her parents were willing accomplices, going so far as to report their daughter and grandson "missing" after giving their daughter money to fund her flight. They then accused their former son-in-law of having something to do with their daughter and grandson's disappearance, indicating that they thought perhaps he'd harmed them.
The child was eventually found thanks to supporters who dedicated their time to helping reunite father and son.
Don't make a similar mistake if you're fighting a child custody battle -- contact an attorney for help instead of making a rash decision you'll later regret.
Source: Great Falls Tribune, "Conrad man's missing baby, ex-wife in California," Seaborn Larson, Oct. 02, 2017