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Woman arrested in Florida, accused of criminal offense

Florida readers may be aware of an unusual child custody case that has led to the arrest of a mother of five. The woman, 50 years of age, is accused of attempting to hide two of her teenage daughters from their father. While the child custody case was not initiated in Florida, the woman may petition a local court to handle the matter now that she has been charged with a criminal offense, and she could fight extradition back to the initial jurisdiction.

The woman and her former husband have a total of five children, and they have been involved in child custody struggles for some time. The father was granted custody rights in 2013, but, prior to that time, the two older girls were ordered into the care of their aunt. Unwilling to live with her, they ran away shortly after being taken to her home. They appeared on a local news program to plead their case for staying with their mother, but they have not been publicly seen or heard from since that time.

The mother of these girls has not expressed concern over their whereabouts, leading authorities to assume that she knows where they are located and how they are doing. In fact, it is alleged that the girls are being hidden by a network of supporters, and officials are asking the public for tips to help locate them and return them to their father's care. Meanwhile, the mother has been charged with deprivation of parental rights, and she is facing a court battle.

It is not yet known if this mother of five will fight to have her case heard in Florida or whether she will submit to extradition back to her home state. In making a case against her, the prosecution will need to provide evidence to prove that she has acted with the intent to hide the girls. In the meanwhile, it is hoped that the two teens are safe and in good health. The case certainly demonstrates how a family law matter can quickly shift into a matter of criminal offense.  

Source: twincities.com, "Lakeville mom held, 2 girls still hidden in 'network,' police say", Katie Kather, Oct. 20, 2015

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