Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ALEXANDER + CHRISTOPHER WATKINS :
Abducted From Canada

(Letter written to Canadian Politicians on July 14, 2009)

My children, Alexander WATKINS (age 7) and Christopher WATKINS (age 4) were abducted by my ex-wife, Edyta ( Ustaszewski ) Watkins, and her father, Thaddeus (Ted) Ustaszewski, during the weekend of March 7th 2009, on a Court Ordered access visit.

My boys have permanently resided with me since December 2007, after the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) apprehended the children over concerns of mental/physical abuse by my ex-wife, Edyta ( Ustaszewski ) Watkins and both her parents. Honorable

Justice H. Brownstone of the Ontario Family Courts ruled that the CCAS had the authority to place my children with me as I already had a Joint-Custody agreement enforced as of February 16th, 2006. Honorable Justice H. Brownstone forwarded this matter for a summary judgment and after a very long and expensive custody trial presided by her Honorable Madam Justice G. Waldman, I was granted Final Sole Custody on January 26th 2009.

The children’s mother, Edyta ( Ustaszewski ) Watkins, was granted access every second weekend and liberal access every week. This final Order was issued despite the fact that both Judicial Judges, the Honorable Justice H. Brownstone and the Honorable Madam Justice G. Waldman, were fully aware through legal motions brought up by both my lawyer and the CCAS during Family Court and throughout the full Custody Trial that my ex-wife had NO fixed address, was evading the CCAS and was still in the possession of 2 Canadian Passports issued to the children in 2006 that had been ordered handed over to CCAS on numerous occasions.

On Monday March 9th after Edyta’s weekend access the children’s school called to inform me the children had not been returned. I immediately contacted the Police who confirmed that Edyta’s father, their maternal grandfather, Tadeusz (Ted) Ustaszewski had driven Edyta and my children across the border at Buffalo N.Y. on Sunday March 8th, and that she and the boys had flown from Rochester N.Y to Germany via Detroit while Tadeusz (Ted) Ustaszewski returned back to Canada. Members of her extended family who reside in Chicago have confirmed that Edyta and my boys are now in Poland where she was born and still has family.

She left Canada and entered the U.S. on a Canadian Passport that the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) in Ontario claims and reported verified was suspended on January 26th 2009 (Suspension of Federal Licenses), 42 days prior to the abduction on March 8th, for lack of child support payments and my children flew out on Canadian Passports that I tried in vain to have removed by the Courts and Passport Canada. She then flew from Rochester, N.Y. and landed in Germany and was admitted on her “suspended” passport along with the children’s passports which she had testified she didn’t have in court. I have been frustrated at every turn by both the Courts and Passport Canada despite my constant warnings about this traumatic abduction that could have been easily prevented.

Despite this being a criminal matter and the mother being stripped of her parental rights before the abduction, I have submitted all the necessary documents regarding the HAGUE CONVENTION “Return Application Form” within 10 Days of my sons abductions to Tina Kapoor of the FRO (Ontario Central Hague Convention Authority Department). After the initial filing of the documents to the Polish Central Hague Convention Authority within the first month, the Polish Authority communicated months later to the Ontario Central Hague Convention Authority that they required all the documents and Court Orders translated into Polish for its filing into the Polish Courts. These translations were completed in Ontario within 2 weeks and then forwarded back to the Polish Central Hague Convention Authority. Tina Kapoor and her supervisor, Shane Foulds, has been dedicated to this case and have been instrumental in moving it forward to Poland in addition to setting up frequent conference calls with all who are involved in this case.

Detective Constable Jesse K. Mann (#1142) of the York Regional Police is leading the criminal investigation into the abduction of my two sons for the last 4-months. After meeting with Detective Sergeant Mike Yonge (#270) of the Newmarket, Ontario’s York Regional Police on July 6th 2009, this case has been escalated by senior officials. I have provided law enforcement authorities with numerous well documented tips and supporting evidence about Edyta’s family in Poland and Chicago and the particulars on a car that her father, Tadeusz (Ted) Ustaszewski, apparently shipped to Poland prior to her departure.

Detective Sergeant Mike Yonge (#270) admitted to me, my family and colleagues that this case was much larger than they anticipated and he was surprised of the lack of work conducted, warrants issued and lead follow-up on this case. I also advised Detective Sergeant Mike Yonge (#270), through information provided to me by the Ontario Central Hague Convention Authority, that due to this being a international child abduction and Hague Convention case, speed in lead gathering in Canada and using these leads to locate the children in Poland or surrounding countries was necessary as upon the 1-year mark, Hague Judicial Authorities in Poland may Order NOT to return the children due to length of time they have resided in their country.

I have provided law enforcement authorities with numerous well documented tips and supporting evidence about Edyta’s family in Poland and Chicago and the particulars on a car that her father apparently shipped to Poland prior to her departure. It took authorities over 55 days before finally investigating the leads provided by the members of her extended family who reside in Chicago. The Police prepared a Canada-wide warrant for Edyta’s arrest and questioned Ted on his role in the abduction before he evaded Police and fled out of Canada to Poland.

I am grateful that Anne Bourdeau, Assistant National Coordinator working in Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada - CONSULAR AFFAIRS BUREAU, Julie Gagnon and S/Sgt.Rtd. John Oliver of the R.C.M.P.’s national, OUR MISSING CHILDREN DIVISION, are actively participating in this investigation and providing valuable resources. I had the pleasure to meet all of them in person on May 26th 2009, in the offices of Ontario’s Family Responsibility Office (FRO) which operates the Ontario Central Hague Authority. Anne Bourdeau communicated in this meeting that she and the R.C.M.P. rarely ever meet face-to-face with Left-behind parents but this was arranged because this abduction case was “well planned in advanced” and “unique in Canada”.

Also present in this meeting was Mrs. Terry Smith, Case Manager of CHILD FIND ONTARIO who has been helping in these matters with Mr. John Durant, Executive Director, since almost 1-year prior to the abduction of my children. It was shared in this meeting that this is the first documented Canadian case to ever involve a missing person’s organization by a concerned parent prior to an abduction. I had provided their contact information in my letters and Court Orders sent to Passport Canada’s Security Department on October 7th, 10th and November 10th, 2008.

I am also grateful that Mrs. Barbara Snider, Case Director, International Division of MISSING CHILDREN SOCIETY OF CANADA who has extensive history, knowledge and experience in international abductions across Canada was also in attendance.

I have lost faith in our Canadian System; whether it be the

- Judicial Court System and Judges in dealing with children’s safety measures when dealing with the threat of parental abductions;

- Judges Overruling Child Welfare Organizations directly involved with families when concerns are Motioned appropriately (In my case with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto);

- Passport Canada not enabling the Cancellation* of Children’s Canadian Passports either directly by:

- the Sole Custodial Parent

- a Child Welfare Organization when the child is in care

- a Court Order when Passports are Ordered Not to be Issued

- Passport Canada in dealing with the Cancellation of Adult Passports due to enforcement actions brought through by Government / Provincial support enforcement measures or through;

- Law Enforcement not taking the immediate investigative steps and lead gathering necessary in Parental Abductions Cases even though Superior Court Orders indicate otherwise.

* Currently only the original Applicant can cancel a Child’s Canadian Passport or by Court Order.

The Canadian Federal / Provincial procedures in place are NOT protecting our children from parental abductions as documented in my case and only creating a false sense of safety to all Canadians.

I am incredibly frustrated, concerned and have taken the steps to document all of this BUT most importantly, it has been 4-months since my children have gone missing and I want them returned to their home country of Canada. I love them and miss them so much. Knowing that my children are somewhere in the world but we are unable to see them is unbearable to me and my family.

I bring all of this to your attention to request your assistance to contact those who are involved in this case to provide them any assistance they may require. I would be eternally grateful. I want my children to come home safe and sound. Alexander is especially vulnerable as he has been diagnosed with Autism. He was making good progress as we enrolled him in a number of programs and significant resources were made available to help him. His mother, Edyta ( Ustaszewski ) Watkins, has constantly denounced his Autism as documented by both the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and York Regions Children's Aid Society and will ignore his special needs.

Since being involved in my ordeal, I do believe that reforms and procedural changes are necessary at both the Federal and Provincial levels to prevent this from happening to other families across Canada. There are over approximately 400 abductions every year in Canada and some of these abductions can be easily preventable with immediate changes which I have indicated. Let’s not just give parents a false sense of security, let’s make it secure for our children!

If you have information on the whereabouts of Alexander Watkins or Christopher Watkins in the countries of Poland, Germany or Austria please contact me here:

Watkins.Missing.Children@gmail.com

Sincerely yours,

Stephen Watkins

(Biological Father and Custodial Parent)