Entries in Child Custody (5)


Custody Hearing Set for Children of Missing Florida Mom

Courtesy Blanco Family(MIRAMAR, Fla.) -- A preliminary custody hearing for the three children of missing Florida mother Vilet Torrez will be held on Thursday, marking the next step in determining whether the children will be returned to the custody of their father, who has been called a person of interest in his wife's disappearance.

Vilet Torrez, 38, was reported missing on April 2 after her children had spent the weekend with her estranged husband.  The missing mom had recently separated from Cid Torrez, her husband of 15 years, with whom she'd had years of marital problems, her family said.  The woman's car and belongings were found in her driveway.

The couple's three children, Vilet, 12, Cid Jr., 7, and Marcus, 4, were taken from Cid Torrez's custody and placed in the care of their maternal grandparents after an anonymous April 5 call alleged Cid Torrez had a gun and wanted to "end it all."

Torrez's lawyer, Richard Della Fera, told ABC News his client denies the allegation and any involvement in his wife's disappearance.

"He had nothing to do with her disappearance, and we welcome the investigation because we're confident it's going to exonerate him," Della Fera said, adding that he believed Vilet Torrez's family never liked Cid and always believed she married "below herself."

A judge is expected to rule on the custody of the Torrez children on May 10.

Tania Rues, public information officer for the Miramar Police Department, said authorities are thoroughly investigating all possible angles.

"[Vilet Torrez] did not leave on her own free will, and we believe foul play is suspected," Rues said.  She declined to name other possible angles or people who had been questioned but said Cid Torrez had fully cooperated.

Vilet Torrez had dinner plans with a male friend on March 30, Cid Torrez told ABC News shortly after her disappearance.  Torrez said his wife had a new boyfriend whom he had met and had been "around" since she was reported missing.

The missing mother's siblings said they hadn't heard of a new boyfriend in Torrez's life and said Cid Torrez had a history of being "jealous" to the point they worried about their sister's safety.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Allegedly Sold Newborn for $15K

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW CASTLE, Del.) -- A Delaware mother of three is charged with trying to sell her newborn son for $15,000 because she didn't want another child and wanted to go to Disney World, according to police.

Bridget Wismer, 33, allegedly agreed to give her infant son to John Gavaghan, 54, of Philadelphia who would falsely sign the birth certificate as the father and then raise the child as his own. Wismer's grandmother first alerted police to the scheme, according to New Castle, Del., police documents.

Both subjects are charged with "dealing in children" and second degree conspiracy and face up to seven years in prison.

Wismer, who is unemployed and lives with her mother, told ABC affiliate WPVI Tuesday that the charges were all a big misunderstanding and no crime had taken place. She said Gavaghan is an old friend who was trying to help her with her three children.

But police say they found multiple contract-like documents in Gavaghan's home that spell out a payment schedule for the sale.

In a signed affidavit obtained by ABC News from New Castle County Court, police state that Wismer's grandmother contacted them, to report that Wismer had sold her newborn child to a gay couple for $15,000 because she did not want the child and wanted to go to Disney World. According to the document, the two arranged the deal in August for an expected Sept. 11 delivery, though the baby was actually born on Aug. 31.

Police obtained video surveillance from nearby Delaware Park Racetrack which shows Gavaghan signing documents pertaining to the sale of the baby and providing a female with cash and a money order four days after the child's birth.

When questioned, Gavaghan allegedly admitted to the agreement and told police that he placed his name on the birth certificate despite never having sex with Wismer.

In a later interview, Wismer also admitted to the agreement, according to the documents.
Wismer was released on $1,500 bond and Gavaghan was released on $7,000 bond and ordered to have no contact with the victim. The child is currently in foster care.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Accuses Ex-Wife of DUI Sting in Child Custody Battle

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CONCORD, Calif.) -- Dave Dutcher thought it was going to be a good night when a woman invited him for a date, showed up at the bar with a female friend, they drank together, one of the women flashed her breasts, and then suggested they drive to another bar.

Before the night could pan out, however, Dutcher got a summons for DUI.

Dutcher, 49, is now claiming the entire evening was a sting operation choreographed by his ex-wife during their bitter divorce and child custody dispute -- and he is asking that his divorce settlement be set aside because his arrest was the result of entrapment.

The ex-wife, Susan Dutcher, went to court this week and an upcoming court date has been set for the beginning of October. Susan Dutcher claims her husband has unpaid child and spousal support bills that are forcing her to put her home up for auction later this month.

In court papers filed in June, Susan Dutcher wrote that her former husband "believed the petitioner had entrapped him...and used that to gain an unfair advantage granting her 90 percent of community assets and custody of the children."

Dave Dutcher could not be reached for comment, but he told the San Jose Mercury News that one of the women flashed her breasts that night at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Susan Dutcher admits to hiring private investigator Christopher Butler in November 2008 to keep an eye on her ex-husband and his drinking habits. The mother of three said she worried about her ex's drinking habits and was "concerned about the safety of her children when they were in [his] care," according to court documents.

Susan Dutcher claims she never intended for him to be charged with a DUI, didn't know the details of Butler's investigation and contends she did nothing wrong.

Her lawyer, Pamela Lauser, told ABC News, "In the process of the divorce, the children were constantly telling her that [Dave] was driving while he was drunk and often had containers in the car. She felt no one in the legal system was paying attention to her."

The lawyer added, "He was a womanizer, a drinker and completely misbehaved."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arnold Schwarzenegger Responds to Maria Shriver's Divorce Filing

Lee Celano/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger is attempting to block his estranged wife Maria Shriver's bid to receive spousal support, according to documents obtained by

In the response to Shriver's divorce filing, the actor and ex-California governor indicates that he does not want to pay her spousal support.

Schwarzenegger also states that he wants each side to pay his or her respective legal fees.  Shriver has requested that Schwarzenegger pay her attorney fees in addition to spousal support.

Both sides are seeking joint custody of their two sons, ages 17 and 13.  TMZ notes they don't have a prenuptial agreement, meaning Shriver is entitled to half of the assets they acquired during their marriage, under California law.

The ex-couple announced their separation in May.  Schwarzenegger later admitted he'd fathered a child with his housekeeper.  Shriver subsequently filed for divorce.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Grandmother, Sex Offender Fight for Custody of Child in Florida

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- A judge's ruling giving custody of a 3-year-old girl to a registered sex offender over her grandmother has created confusion and outrage in Jacksonville, Florida.

"I was absolutely appalled.  Very concerned for the well-being of this little girl," State Rep. Janet Adkins told ABC News affiliate WJXX-TV in Jacksonville.

Trista Crews, the mother of the girl, died a month after her daughter, Miranda Wilkerson, was born.  At the time, she was married to registered sex offender Donald Coleman, though Coleman, whose offense was impregnating Crews when she was 14 and he was 38, had filed for divorce.

In his divorce petition, Coleman claimed that Crews was pregnant with another man's baby.  Despite the claim in his divorce filing, Coleman is still Miranda's legal father because he was married to Miranda's mother at the time she was born, which apparently played into the judge's ruling.

Reporters were not allowed in the courtroom when the decision was reached last week, and lawyers and family members were barred from speaking about the ruling to the media.

Adkins told WJXX-TV that she and the Florida Department of Children and Families are trying to determine whether anything can be done to return Miranda to her grandparents, with whom she grew up.

"I find it absolutely incredible that the law would say you are going to take a child out of a family, the only family this child has ever known, and to put this person with a complete stranger who is not any relation, I find that just appalling," she said.  "My biggest concern is for that child's safety."

According to court documents acquired by WJXX-TV two days after the ruling, Coleman's motion for custody claimed that the girl's maternal grandmother, Rita Manning, was not allowing him to see Miranda.

The motion also detailed Manning's arrest record, which included a 1995 case that was eventually dropped in which she was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  Manning was also charged with child neglect in 1997, when her daughter got pregnant by Coleman.  Manning was eventually sentenced to probation, according to the documents obtained by WJXX-TV.

Coleman was sentenced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, but Manning agreed to her daughter's marrying him that same year because the 14-year-old was expecting a baby, she said.  Since then, the Colemans had two more children together.

The custody transfer of Miranda occurred last Wednesday, after Manning petitioned to adopt the child.  Outrage over the case has grown since the judge's decision, which forced Miranda to leave her grandmother and move to Georgia, where Coleman lives.

Miranda's grandmother will have the opportunity to appeal the judge's decision.  She could also report the case to the Department of Child and Family Services.  But for now, when Miranda turns 4 in a couple days, Manning said she doesn't know if she will be able to wish her a happy birthday in person.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio