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Arrest made in unusual child custody case

A woman has been arrested as her two teenage daughters remain missing. The case, however, is not one in which the mother is accused of harming her children. On the contrary, many believe that she has acted to intentionally hide the teens from their father, whom she believes is capable of harming them. The unusual child custody and criminal case has captured the attention of parents in Colorado and across the nation.

The mother and father share a total of five children, and moved toward divorce in 2011. Until 2012, all five kids lived with their mother. At that point, the child custody case intensified, leading a judge to order a psychological evaluation of the family. The result of that evaluation was a report that the mother had brainwashed the kids and caused them to be alienated from their father. The children were ordered into the care of an aunt, but they ran away less than an hour after being left in her custody and have not been seen or heard from since.

The mother claims that her former husband was abusive toward her and their children. However, there are no police reports or child protective services reports to substantiate those claims, leaving the court to decide which side to believe. Months after the girls disappeared, the father was given full custody of all five children. Authorities believe that the mother knows where her daughters are located, and they the girls are being hidden by a "network" of concerned individuals. This what led to the criminal charges of deprivation of parental rights.

As it currently stands, the mother is facing serious felony charges connected to the disappearance of the girls. It is unclear what evidence police have to prove that she knows where they are or has been instrumental in keeping them away from their father. However, it is certainly true that her actions have seriously endangered her ability to regain child custody rights toward any of her five children. For parents in Colorado and elsewhere, the story has certainly struck a nerve.  

Source: startribune.com, "Mother's arrest brings Lakeville police no closer to missing girls", Brandon Stahl, Oct. 21, 2015

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