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Children Returned to Lawful Guardians Nearly 2 ½ Years Following Parental Abduction

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The Family Law Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. take note of the long-awaited resolution of a case involving the parental abduction of two small children in Dixie County. This matter began back in late 2011, after 31-year-old Jamie Beadle unlawfully took her children, then ages 3 and 4, from their legal guardians, and fled the country. Prior to the abduction, the Florida Department of Children and Families had removed the children from Beadle’s custody, and placed them with their grandparents.

Following investigation into the matter, a warrant was issued on January 3, 2012 by the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office for Beadle’s arrest on two counts of interference with custody. Thereafter, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the U.S. Marshall Service in Gainesville, and in April of 2012 they agreed to accept this parental abduction case. It was subsequently determined that Beadle had taken the children to Mexico.

From then on, the case remained open and the investigation continued until Beadle made contact with the U.S. Marshals Service in Gainesville, informing them that she was willing to turn herself in, along with the two children at the U.S.-Mexico border. On March 12, 2014, Jamie Beadle was arrested at the Hidalgo Port of Entry in Texas, where she was booked into the Hidalgo County Jail. Both children were also successfully recovered, and reunited with their legal guardians.

As Family Law Attorneys, we are happy to see that the conclusion of this matter, at least in terms of custody, resulted in the children’s safe return. As for Beadle, she will have to answer to criminal charges following extradition back to Florida. In addition to criminal charges, Beadle’s conduct will likely have a profound negative impact on her ability to regain custody of her children in the future.

It is important to note both the differences and similarities between this case, which involved a parental abduction, and other matters involving a custodial parent’s wrongful relocation with a child. From the criminal law perspective, interference with custody and kidnapping are crimes in Florida. Determining whether a person’s actions amount to criminal conduct, will depend on the facts of the case, and whether a valid defense exists.

From the family law perspective, the removal of a child from the state of Florida, whether criminal or not, can have a great impact on the manner in which the court will assess pending or future custody issues. For example, while a custodial parent’s relocation with a child that occurs without either agreement between interested parties or the court’s grant of permission to relocate, might not amount to criminal conduct, evidence of improper relocation can be used in the court’s determination of custody issues.

In some cases there are valid reasons for the removal of a child from the state, which can apply both to a party’s defense of criminal charges, and also as a means of rebutting evidence presented in civil custody or related family law matters. However, no assumptions should be made that a valid defense, excuse, or reason exists for the removal of a child prior to consulting with an attorney.

While in the case involving Beadle, the actions of the accused certainly appear to have been improper, in other cases issues regarding removal of or relocation with a child, may be unclear. As such, the Gainesville Child Custody, Relocation, and Family Law attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. encourage and recommend that you discuss matters with an experienced lawyer that can explain your legal rights and options, as opposed to making your own self-determinations.

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