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Jan 3, 2019

OW Mother & Daughter to be Reunited after Russian Father Retained the Child in the U.S.

While that family is grieving, another is celebrating. On Wednesday, a woman in Trial Farm Village received the news she had been waiting for since November 2017. Raquel Margarita Cocom’s three-year-old daughter was retained by Russian national Andre Timofeev, the child’s biological father. Cocom and Timofeev had been in a relationship for nine years and on November fifth, 2017, he, with Cocom’s permission took the child to the U.S. to visit.  The plan was that he would return with the child in two weeks, but that did not happen. Cocom panicked and got assistance from Elisa Castellanos of Tukkun Olam Belize. Cocom filed a case to have her daughter returned under The Hague Child Abduction Convention and after a deposition hearing in December 2018, Cocom was told that her daughter would be returned. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Raquel Cocom, Mother

 “I can’t wait to have my daughter back in my arms, tell her how much I have missed her and how much I love her. So I am just waiting for that moment. I don’t know what else to say. I am so excited.”


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Raquel Cocom has been desperately waiting to be reunited with her three-year-old daughter, Vera Timofeev since November fifth, 2017. That is when her ex-common-law husband of nine years, Andre Timofeev, a Russian National took their daughter Trail Farm Village in the Orange Walk District to South Carolina, USA, to visit her grandmother. But Timofeev had alternative plans for baby Vera.


Raquel Cocom

Raquel Cocom

“At the first point I didn’t want my daughter go. We had a quarrel and after all he convinced be because we were in a relationship for nine years. So he never gave me an issue for me to mistrust him. At the end of the quarrel I gave him the permission and we came to a verbal agreement that in two weeks he would be back with my daughter.”


That never happened and it has now been over a year. Cocom thought she would never see her daughter again.


Raquel Cocom

“A lot of things came to my mind that maybe I will not see my daughter again if I no find help.”


She found the help she needed in Elisa Castellanos who heads Tukkun Olam Belize, a grassroots, human rights advocacy organization out of Orange Walk Town. With the help of Tikkun Olam Belize, Cocom utilized the provisions of The Hague Child Abduction Convention to have Vera returned.


Elisa Castellanos

Elisa Castellanos, Tikkun Olam Belize

“There are elements of manipulation and psychological abuse in this case and so we really came on board to help Ms. Cocom because she wasn’t really getting the attention in the beginning that she needed for the case and it wasn’t being seen with the urgency that it really required. The whole point of the Hague Convention Treaty is to make sure that these cases, especially parental abduction cases are treated quickly because the child is growing, there are issues of the trauma of separating children from their mother. These cases require urgency and holistic, compassionate approach which now we see a big difference. Tikkun Olam has been there from the beginning.”


In the beginning, Cocom was in constant communication with Vera and Timofeev, but that connection was severed after her ex-lover realized that Cocom had begun the process of having her child returned. Cocom struggled to keep hope alive.


Raquel Cocom

“It’s not losing faith. I still had the fate. But it’s like when you see that you are struggling and you don’t see an answer beside of the Government like you feel like your hands are tied up. I ver lose my faith because I truly believe in god.”


With the help of local and U.S. lawyers and experts, a deposition hearing was held on December fifth and sixth at the D.P.P.’s office in Orange Walk Town. Since then, Cocom and all those who supported her including the Orange Walk community and UNIBAM have been waiting for a decision which was delivered on Wednesday.


Raquel Cocom

“That was a moment that was so joyful. I really was expecting that but not really in a short time. I said I don’t want anything for Christmas and the only thing I want for the new year is to see my daughter back and I saw that miracle and I was so joyful.”


Timofeev has the choice to appeal the court’s decision. Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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