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Friday
Jul052013

Mass. Mother Trapped in Brazil over Custody Dispute

Shauna Hadden/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- A custody battle has a Massachusetts woman and her daughter "trapped in Brazil," according to her Facebook page, and trying to come home.

Shauna Hadden, 33, of Agawam, Mass., took 6-year-old Ava to Brazil so that Ava could see her father.  But once they were in the country, her ex-husband filed a custody suit for Ava, forcing the two to remain in Brazil.

"We just want them both to come home safely," Linda Hadden, Shauna's mother, told ABC News.  "We have no ill will towards anyone."

According to Linda, Shauna and Donizete Machado have been divorced since 2009.

"She has full custody of Ava.  He lives in Brazil.  Shauna planned a trip on May 21 where she would take Ava to visit her father and extended family in Brazil.  We thought it was a great opportunity for Ava to learn about her heritage," Linda said.

But when they got to Brazil, "Shauna got a call from a man who lived in Machado's town telling her not to come," Linda said.  "Her ex-husband was planning to take Ava from her."

So instead of traveling to see Machado, Shauna chose to go north and stay with friends.

"That's when Machado got angry.  He and his sisters started sending my daughter nasty messages saying things like 'You're going to have to stay in Brazil forever.'  So Shauna decided to take her return flight home," Linda said.

But Machado, who had bought the plane tickets, cancelled them when Shauna arrived in Brazil, according to Linda.

For her, Machado's actions have come as a surprise.

"He seemed so enthusiastic and happy at the prospect of seeing Ava," Linda said.  "Shauna and Ava Skyped with him for months before the trip and he seemed like a grateful and polite person."

On June 6, Shauna discovered that Machado not only wanted to see Ava but wanted custody of her as well.

"That day police showed up at the home where Shauna was staying.  They had guns and demanded that they take Ava's passport.  They said they were carrying out an order from a judge to get Ava's passport.  Shauna was scared and didn't know what to do.  She gave them Ava's passport and her own too," Linda said.

Shauna  then went to the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, where officials told her to get an attorney, which, according to Linda, took her 10 days to do.

Machado had filed a court order against Shauna in Brazilian court.

"At first he wanted immediate custody, which the court denied.  Then he wanted someone to bring Ava to him, which the court also denied.  Then he wanted a supervised visit with Ava, which the judge granted," Linda said.

"But the problem is that he has not visited," she added.

ABC News has not yet been able to reach Machado or his attorneys.

Despite the ordeal, Shauna and her mother are still willing to meet Machado.

"Shauna always tried to maintain a relationship with Ava's father, because she felt like everyone deserves to have a father," Linda said.  "No matter what happens, he is Ava's family."

Shauna and Ava are now waiting for a response from Machado's lawyers, according to Linda.  He has until July 5 to visit Ava under the court-ordered supervised visit.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio