Calif. mom finds missing children using Facebook

June 6, 2010

(AP) -- A Southern California mother whose two children were reported missing 15 years ago has tracked them down in Florida using Facebook.

The children's father, Faustino Utrera, took off with them in 1995 when they were ages 2 and 3, said San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Kurt Rowley. The mother had found her daughter's Facebook profile after searching for her name on the social networking site in March, Rowley said.

An official said Saturday that the now 17-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy have been placed in the custody of the state of Florida.

"You can imagine the feelings she's having, not seeing her children for so many years and knowing they've bonded with another family," Rowley said about the mother. "But at the same time they're almost within her grasp."

The two teenagers are being cared for by a non-relative in Florida with whom the pair have an existing relationship, said Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Elizabeth Arenas, who did not identify the mother.

She referred further questions to the woman's lawyer, who did not return a phone call.

Osceolla County Sheriff's deputies detained Utrera on an arrest warrant last month obtained by San Bernardino County prosecutors who were contacted by the missing children's mother, Rowley told the San Bernardino Sun.

He was charged with kidnapping and violating child custody orders.

Rowley said that when the daughter's profile was found on , she initially told her mother that she did not want to re-establish their relationship, but the contact helped prosecutors file two felony counts each of kidnapping and child abduction against Utrera.

Rowley said he expected Utrera to fight extradition at a July 17 hearing in Florida.

Explore further: Overweight child removed from home

0 shares

Related Stories

Overweight child removed from home

July 13, 2007

A mother in northwest England is fighting to get her 8-year-old daughter back after the town council removed the girl because she was extremely overweight.

When Mom Dates, Dad Stops Visiting His Kids

August 3, 2009

New research from the Journal of Marriage and Family shows that children born outside of marriage are less likely to be visited by their father when the mother is involved in a new romantic relationship. Many children born ...

Fla. judges, lawyers must 'unfriend' on Facebook

December 12, 2009

(AP) -- Florida's judges and lawyers should no longer "friend" each other on Facebook, the popular social networking site, according to a ruling from the state's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

Helping fathers of sexually abused children

April 13, 2010

The preliminary results of a Université de Montréal study show that fathers of sexually abused children can suffer from anxiety, depression and grief. Such patriarchs are often overwhelmed by a desire for vengeance, ...

Recommended for you

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Jun 07, 2010
Kidnapping, really, you CAN NOT be charged with kidnapping if you take your kids out of state, as long as you stay within the country's borders. Kidnapping can only apply to a parent if they remove the children FROM THE COUNTRY without notifying the other parent. I was told this specifically by a child protective services investigator while my wife was having some personal issues that caused her to be investigated (for the record, I was not being investigated, and pondered moving out of state, where I then asked the question on whether it would be considered kidnapping-the answer to which I already stated).
They can of course get him for violation of custody agreements...

To even try for kidnapping violates parental rights to begin with.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.