Father's Day is usually a day for dads to celebrate with their children. But some fathers won't be able to celebrate with them. Their children have been abducted, and they have no idea where they are. Or they know where they are, but are still mired in a foreign legal system trying to get them back.
Popular perception focuses on children abducted by strangers, but the vast majority of children are abducted by someone they know. That someone is most often a parent. And children are equally likely to be abducted by a mother or a father in these disputes. Many people will question whether a child is really in danger with a parent, but incidents like the death of Logan Habibovic, whose father abducted him and then commited murder/suicide, show there is a very real danger. Below are some of the many fathers who are hoping this will be the last Father's Day they spend without their abducted children.
David Veasey hasn't been able to celebrate Father's Day with his children for two years. His children, Harrison and Laura, have been missing since a visitation with him in Southern Highlands, NSW in Australia on 2013. When he tried to get in contact with their mother to schedule their next visit, she was nowhere to be found. Email, Skype contacts, and cell phones have all been cut off. They may be traveling around Australia and may attend country music festivals.
Christoper Savoie has been waiting even longer to have another Father's Day with his children. His ex-wife abducted their two children, Isaac and Rebecca, from their home in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2009. She took them to her native Japan. His case received a burst of attention when he traveled to Japan to attempt to retrieve them; he was captured by Japanese officials. The charges were eventually dropped but he had to leave the country without his children. Japan is one of the few industrial countries where parental kidnapping isn't a crime.
Reed Mattocks and Donnie Owle are spending their first Father's Day without their children. Their mother, Shira Mattocks, abducted Owle's two sons, James and Samuel, and Reed's daughter, Evelyn Grace Arneach, after she lost custody of all three for drug use in November. Their maternal grandmother was recently arrested and charged with helping her daughter abduct the children, but they still have not been found.
Another pair of fathers are also spending their first Father's Day without their children. Dayton Clevenger and Steven McMorrine haven't seen their daughters, Eden Marie and Gemalynne, since December 1. Their mother, Brittany Nunn, is believed to be accompanied by her new husband and their two children. They may be in Minnesota.
It was a little over a year ago that Matthew Watter last celebrated Father's Day with his twin daughters, Isabella and Bronte. He dropped them off at school, but they never arrived in class. Their mother is also missing and is believed to have abducted them.
Eric Haan is spending his second Father's Day without his two sons, Pablo and Joshua. His wife took the two children when they family was on a vacation to visit relatives in her native Mexico and did not return. He knows that his sons are still in Mexico, and has been involved in legal proceedings there to get them back, but has not seen them since they were abducted.
Peter Innes hasn't spent a Father's Day with his daughter, Victoria, since 2005. Even though she abducted her daughter, her mother has also spent eight years without a Mother's Day with her. She took her daughter to Spain and was arrested a year later when she returned to the U.S. She spent eight years in jail for not letting Victoria return to the U.S., but was released earlier this year.
It was a set of pictures of his daughter, Lilly, sitting amongst boxes of live ammunition that made Robert Baumann go to court for custody of her. He managed to get it, but when he went to pick her up she and her mother, Megan Everett, were gone. Despite exstensive publicity, he is spending a Father's Day without her.
William Campbell has been waiting for a Father's Day with his son, Steven, since 2011. He was abducted by his mother and is believed to be in Mexico with her.
A few fathers will at least get the chance to celebrate Father's Day again. Among them is Danny Cleveland. His son, Blake, was abducted to Egypt by his mother in 2012, and was only returned to the United States on June 15. Roger Williams, whose son Ethan vanished with his mother two weeks ago, was also recently reunited with his son. After five years of legal wrangling, Dennis Burns was finally able to bring his two daughters, Victoria and Sophia, home from Argentina in May, where they had been abducted by their mother. Shundy Hicks had to deal with the inital horror of his daughter, Anjalayiah, being abducted by her mother four years ago, and the even worse horror when her mother was later found in the U.S. without her. He was eventually able to locate his daughter in Mexico with relatives of her mother's boyfriend, and this May she came home with him. For these dads, Father's Day will undoubtably be even more joyful.
[Photos via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]