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Parents kidnap kids and sail to Cuba after child custody dispute

After a divorce or separation, it is not uncommon for New Jersey parents to disagree about who should get custody of the children. Most of the time, however, parents can work with their attorneys and the courts in order to resolve their disagreement, and they usually accept the court's decision. Of course, this is not always the case. Recently, while involved in a child custody dispute with grandparents, a husband and wife kidnapped their children and fled to Cuba on a sailboat.

It all started when the parents lost custody of their two children, ages 2 and 4, after police found all of them in a hotel room with drugs and guns. The boys were temporarily placed in a foster home until the grandparents were able to obtain legal custody.

Upset about losing custody, the parents later decided to kidnap the children and flee the country. The kidnapping started on April 3, when the father broke into his wife's parent's home and tied up his mother-in-law. He then stole her car to escape with the boys. They then boarded a sailboat with the mother and sailed to Havana, Cuba.

After arriving in Cuba, it was an American journalist who recognized the father from the news. After calling the man's name out and getting a response, the reporter notified the authorities. Cuban officials detained the parents and later extradited them back the United States on April 10.

The parents now face several charges of kidnapping and neglect. On top of that, the father faces other serious charges of burglary, false imprisonment, battery and theft.

This story demonstrates that when child custody cases result in serious crimes, it is best to notify the police immediately. Fortunately in this case, Cuba cooperated with the United States in order to ensure that the children were safely returned to their grandparents.

Source: ABC News, "Parents in Cuba Kidnap Case Isolated From Jail Population," Alyssa Newcomb and Anthony Castellano, April 10, 2013

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