UPDATE: U.S. officials: Liberty couple won’t be force to return adopted daughterBy Angie Anaya Borgedalen
POSTED: 10:08 am CDT May 16, 2012
UPDATED: 1:03 pm CDT May 16, 2012
A Liberty couple, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan, will not be forced to return a Guatemalan girl they adopted to her birth parents although the child was allegedly abducted from her birth mother’s side in 2006 by what was believed to be a child-trafficking ring.
According to Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department,
Guatemalan officials had been informed that the Monahans would not be forced to return the child because the two countries had not signed the Hague Convention on Abduction. The treaty was signed Jan. 1, 2008, more than a year after the initial abduction took place but before the girl left the country bound for the United States.
Nuland said at a press briefing May 15 in Washington, D.C., that the United States was deeply concerned about allegations regarding stolen children and inter-country adoptions.
“Our primary goal in any kind of inter-country adoption is that they be ethical, that they be transparent,” Nuland said via an email link. “That’s why we push so many countries to join the Hague Convention on Adoptions.
“That said, we can’t accept cases under the Hague Convention on Abduction if the treaty was not in force at the time of the alleged wrongful removal or retention.”
Nuland said the proper venue for pursuing the case would be in state courts.
“They’re the competent organ for holding a full hearing on the merits and the best interests of the child,” Nuland said.
The child, Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez who was born Oct. 1, 2004, was reportedly abducted on Nov. 3, 2006, when she was 2 years old, and whisked away in a taxi cab as her mother was opening the door to their home in San Miguel Petapa.
Last year a Guatemalan judge ruled in favor of the birth parents, Loyda Rodriguez and her husband Dayner Orlando Hernandez, and ordered the child be returned to them and her passport canceled.
The girl, now 7, spent time in an orphanage while her birth parents searched for her with the assistance of Survivors’ Foundation, a human rights organization. The child left Guatemala on Dec. 9, 2008, as Karen Abigail Monahan VanHorn. Jennifer Monahan’s maiden name is VanHorn. There have been no allegations made that the Monahans knew the child they adopted had been kidnapped.
When contacted last year by the Liberty Tribune after the story broke, the Monahans declined to comment and posted a note on the door of their upscale house on Woodbury Lane saying, “Please respect our privacy and do not trespass on our private property. Thank you.”
They also hired the Peter Mirijanian public relations agency to represent them. The agency could not be reached for comment, but earlier had released this statement: “The Monahan family will continue to advocate for the safety and best interests of their legally adopted child. They remain committed to protecting their daughter from additional trauma as they pursue the truth of her past through appropriate legal channels.”
Neighbors said the Monahans have three children, two of them adopted. Timothy Monahan is an orthopedic surgeon with offices in Liberty and staff privileges at Liberty Hospital.
Liberty Editor Angie Anaya Borgedalen can be reached at 389-6636 or [email protected]