August 11, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

A Canadian mother who abducted her then 11-month-old son to Mexico and then Belize has been apprehended by Belizean authorities and returned to Canada to face trial. Robin Trockstad had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her husband, Chad Trockstad. From various articles on the subject, it’s impossible to tell if Chad got custody of their son Treyson before or after his ex-wife abducted the boy. The last time Chad saw his son was January 5, 2014.

Interpol put out an alert for Robin and, after three years, Belizean police arrested her about two weeks ago. An arrest warrant had been issued by Canadian police for abduction in contravention of a custody order. As of the date of this article, Chad was in Belize to pick up his son (7 News Belize, 8/9/17). He has a younger child to whom Treyson will be an older brother.

Those facts are pretty basic. Parents sometimes abduct their children and sometimes they’re found and the children are returned. What’s strange about the Trackstad case is the press coverage of it. The linked-to article makes no pretense of objectivity. Having given the facts of the case that appear pretty damning of Robin, it goes on to interview another Canadian ex-patriot living in Belize who’s a friend of hers.

But, back in Cayo, the friends and allies she made while staying Belize are definitely not happy. Until the last moment, when she was put on a plane out of Belize, they tried their best to intercede on her behalf with the Immigration officers handling the case, but that was to no avail…

Robin’s friend had this to say:

"All of the Canadian society, our community in Belize, they are all upset with the Canadian Government that they are so stupid. They hate it because she is so wrongfully being taken back to Canada. She has done nothing wrong. She lived partly in hiding. She didn't come out in the open. I haven't seen her for the last 3 years, but she had her means of finance, and she was doing fine. It's about 15 days ago that she was detained, but Interpol had a listing for her, we knew that for a couple years already."

“She has done nothing wrong.” Hmm. That’s a curious statement. I wonder how the man explains the fact that there’s a warrant out for her arrest or why Interpol got involved. How is it that he believes that international child abduction constitutes doing “nothing wrong?” How would he feel if his wife simply absconded for a few years with his child, assuming he has one? Nothing wrong? Everything hunky-dory?

I don’t blame the man too much. I’m sure she filled his head with visions of domestic violence, child abuse or some such. And I don’t expect him to grasp the concept that, if there were actual facts to support such a claim, Robin could and should have pursued those claims in Canadian courts as she’s required by law to do. Nor do I ask him to know the facts about parental child abduction. Readers of this blog and countless others understand that what Robin did was child abuse of a kind that can have life-long effects.

Reports from the organization, Missing Children Society of Canada, were that she while in Belize, she was spotted in Belmopan and Spanish Lookout. She had been living under different aliases, variation of her names: "Robin Trockstad, Robin Greenway, and Jen Friesen".

See? As much social science on the matter reveals, what parents are required to do when the kidnap their child effectively isolates the child from the world at large. Constantly changing addresses, changing names, moving from place to place, hiding out, etc. mean the child loses not only his father, but his extended paternal family. He may have lost his extended maternal family as well. Treyson is only four, but where are his friends, his teachers? No sooner does he make a friend but it’s time to move on. And, again as the psychology on child abduction shows, the child has to rely on the abducting parent for all his resources, physical, emotional, psychological. He has no one else to whom to turn. Plus, typically, abducting parents are in bad emotional shape themselves, so the child becomes the parent to the parent. He tries to take care of her emotional needs which can be many, varied and adult.

While I don’t much fault Robin’s friend who spoke to the Belizean journalist, I do fault the journalist. His job is to gather information pertinent to the case, but he contented himself with telling the story almost entirely through the eyes of the abductor, albeit by proxy. He sought no information from anywhere else and left his readers with the idea that, amazingly enough, it’s Robin who’s the victim of a “stupid” and callous Canadian government. On the contrary, she’s a child abuser and should receive no sympathy from anyone.

Meanwhile, Treyson’s father Chad was in the country retrieving his son. Did the writer contact him? No, and apparently made no effort to do so. (There’s no statement to the effect that efforts to contact Chad went unresponded to.) Chad of course could have thrown considerable light on the entire case, but Belizean readers will never see it.

It’ll be interesting to learn what happens in Canada.

 

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