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Feb 9, 2016

Family Court Hears Case of Baby Nina Barrera Perez

The unfortunate jurisdiction matter of baby Nina Barrera Perez, adjourned since December, was before Magistrate Dale Cayetano at the Family Court today. As very brief background, two year old Nina was seized from her mother’s home in Orange Walk in November. The intervention by the Human Services Department was done in the strength of an application by the child’s father, Ernesto Barrera, resident in Guatemala. He claims that the mother, Analiz Gutierrez, brought the baby to Belize from Guatemala last year before the conclusion of a custody battle being fought in that jurisdiction. Nina has been in a foster home since, awaiting a ruling by the Family Court. That ruling was to have been handed down today, and at nine this morning Guatemalan Ernesto Barrera was in court, and so was Gutierrez. Barrera is being represented by attorney Kevin Arthurs, while Gutierrez is represented by attorney Marcel Cardona. The Human Services Department is being represented by Melissa Balderamos-Mahler. Arguments were heard from all parties throughout the day, and attorneys were warned against speaking to the media. All we have been able to confirm at this point is that a decision will be handed down on Friday after both parties present witnesses on their behalf. The decision, we understand, will hinge primarily on whether baby Nina was removed from Guatemala illegally, while Analiz Gutierrez did not have sole custody of the child.

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