Child recovered after parental abduction
Published Monday, October 3, 2011 6:24PM MDT
Mounties in central Alberta say they arrested a woman without incident late last week, with the case relating to an abduction dating back to fall 2009.
According to authorities, Zoe Stewart, from Kooskia, Idaho, was ten years old when she was involved in a parental dispute.
Megan Ethne Y'Tara allegedly refused to return her daughter after an overseas trip. Police received a call from the 46-year-old from New York City.
"I advised her of a pending custody issue because Mr. Stuart had applied for custody," said the case's investigating officer, Carlos Martinez, in a phone interview from an Idaho County Sheriff's office. "She said that she was not going to go to court, that she did not want to deal with the issues."
Zoe was last seen at the JFK airport, and a two-year cross-country search ensued.
"We got New York City authorities to look for her with no success. Zoë was placed as a missing child through the National Centre for Missing Exploited Children," said Martinez.
It appears the pair somehow managed to slip into Canada, living most of the time out east. Officers say the girl hasn't attended school since she disappeared.
"Our information from what we've been able to determine is that they were actually living in the Maritimes for quite a period of time and have only recently traveled out west to Blackfalds," said RCMP Sgt. Gord Glasgow.
Y'Tara was arrested in the town just north of Red Deer last Thursday after the two had been living in the region for a few weeks.
Police will not say how they were tipped off about the case.
The child was initially with Alberta Family Services and has since been reunited with her father, who RCMP say is her legal guardian.
"It's been two years, Zoë's grown up," said Martinez of the adjustment. "She hasn't seen her father in quite sometime. Both of them were happy to see each other, back with each other catching up."
Y'Tara is being held in custody by the Canada Border Services Agency for immigration violations and is facing unspecified charges in the United States.
With Files from Susan Amerongen