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Nov 12, 2009

Father kidnapped daughter, but case dragging in court

Story PictureTwo years ago News Five ran the story of Gesenia Cook, a Belizean mother who was pleading for information on the whereabouts of her then five year old daughter Zoe Kathryn. Zoe’s father, U.S. citizen Donald Richard Cook, had taken the girl to the United States without the consent of his wife. Gesenia did not get her daughter back in her arms until October of 2008 when a U.S. court granted her full custody. But that was in the United States and U.S. laws don’t necessarily apply in Belize. It turns out that Richard returned to Belize and local courts granted him access to the child. Gesenia has applied to have complete custody of the girl because she claims Richard has been making her life quite unbearable. But Richard is only half of the problem, according to Gesenia, the case has been adjourned several times, and she just wants a decision to be made.

Gesenia Cook, Wants Custody of Child
“Two years ago my husband or my ex- husband, the court has given him access to spend weekends with my daughter. So all of a sudden now, on a Sunday my daughter was supposed to be back to go to church because they had a harvest and instead I didn’t know that this man kidnapped my daughter and took her away to the United States. I did not hear anything from my daughter till after eight months. But the first time that I heard from him that I was not supposed to be crying; don’t ask her where she is. Now imagine as a mother, you haven’t heard anything from your daughter till after eight months. Now after that I have to be struggling with the police to try to track him down where he is. I worked with the United States Embassy, through the missing exploitation children. And through them, thanks to them they were the ones who assisted me by tracking him now. I had to gather all my money to go all the way to the United States and go to the courts to get my daughter back. Now coming back after struggling from the court there, they gave me full custody of my daughter.”

“He went to the court and he went complaining saying that he wants access to his daughter. After two years, I’m struggling from since then of going to the court. Every time we go to the court they adjourn the case, they adjourn the case. I don’t see why the court has to adjourn the case. The court has evidence that this man has kidnapped my daughter and now I want the court to look more closely to the case and put a stop to this. I want the court to please listen and look at this case more closely. He is confusing her life. So when she comes back from seeing her dad, she is in a different personality. He’s in town and he’s torturing our lives and I want the court to please assist me. I cannot leave my home one year, two years, three years living through the court.”

Gesenia said that the magistrate who was attending to her case is on holiday. Currently Richard is able to see Zoe once a week for one hour.

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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