The parents of a 5-year-old boy in Kirkland, King County in Washington State are battling for custody over the boy. Although the King County Superior Court has ordered both parents to seek permission prior to flying out of the country with their son, the mother has defied the court order and is believed to have fled to Japan to have full custody of their son.
Kris Morness and Chie Kawabata divorced last year, with their son Maximus living mostly with Kawabata. In late 2012, the 46-year old mother sought the court’s permission to fly to Japan with the boy. The court rejected the request as Judge Jean Rietschel of the King County Superior Court said in January that “the detrimental effects of relocation outweigh the benefits.” However, it was found out that Kawabata flew to Japan on July 26 with Maximus in tow. According to a detective from Kirkland, Kawabata confessed through an email sent to Morness that she is in Osaka with their son.
“The defendant has ignored the conditions of the parenting plan and simply defied the court’s last order,” Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Santos stated. In late July, Maximus missed a supposed weekend visitation to Morness. When the Kirkland police went to Kawabata’s residence, as requested by Morness, they found out she already moved out. “It appears the defendant has made arrangements to move all of her belongings to Japan. … There is little reason to believe this move is not permanent.” The prosecutors of King County also believe that she left the country and is unlikely to return as she only bought one-way tickets.
Kawabata said in the email that she has endured years of torment, which left her “emotionally ruined.” Because of this, Kawabata claims to have “forced my hands to take this step that I wish I did not have to take.” The prosecutors have already filed custodial interference against Kawabata. As it is a kidnapping-related felony, it is punishable by imprisonment. Japan’s parliament earlier this year ratified the 1980 Hague Convention on child abductions, an agreement that requires nations to return abducted children to the countries where they naturally reside. No word yet on what Japanese authorities plan to do in this latest case of child abduction.
[via Komo News]