A Fort Myers woman is being charged after taking her daughter during a supervised visit. The young girl, who has special needs, was supposed to be in foster care. When the woman arrived at the facility for a court-ordered visit, she fled out the back door with her daughter. She is now facing criminal charges.
Police were called and an Amber Alert was issued shortly thereafter. The woman was stopped later the same night just south of the Florida-Georgia border after failing to stop at a weigh station upon reentering Florida. The child was unharmed and was taken into custody by the Department of Children and Families. The 46-year-old woman was arrested for driving with a suspended license; additional charges are pending further investigation.
Although the loss of a child is surely a stressful situation for any parent, whether through divorce or for some other reason, this case highlights the need to remain calm and allow legal process to take its course. Although a parent may feel that a court does not have the right to take a child, in this case, a parent could face charges including parental kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child that might hinder her future efforts to regain child custody.
This is because one of the most important factors considered by a court in custody disputes is what is in the best interests of the child. A parent may want to work with an attorney to present a calm, fact-oriented case to the judge about why the child's needs are best served by that parent having custody.
Source: The News-Press, "Missing Fort Myers child found safe, mother arrested," Oct. 9, 2013