Missouri Couple Silent on Order to Return Adopted Daughter to Guatemala
By RESHMA KIRPALANI and CHRISTINA NG, Aug. 5, 2011
A Guatemalan judge has ordered an American couple in Missouri to return their 6-year-old adopted
daughter to her birth mother in San Miguel Petapa, Guatemala.
There are major questions about whether the judge’s ruling is enforceable in the U.S. and whether thecouple who adopted the girl, Timothy James Monahan and Jennifer Lyn Vanhorn Monahan of Liberty, Mo., will comply or simply ignore it.
The Missouri couple has remained silent since the judge’s ruling.
Judge Angelica Noemi Tellez Hernandez ruled on Monday in favor of the child's birth mother, Loyda
Rodriguez, who is represented by the Guatemalan human rights group, Survivors' Foundation. The foundation claims that the child was kidnapped from her mother in 2006 and was illegally put up for
adoption by traffickers who financially benefited when the child was adopted by the Missouri couple in
2008.The foundation does not allege that the U.S. couple knew the girl had been kidnapped, according to the
Court Rules Missouri Couple Adopted Stolen Baby
Court documents released by the Survivors' Foundation lists the adoptive parents as Timothy James Monahan and Jennifer Lyn Vanhorn Monahan of Liberty, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City. Calls to Monahan, an orthopedic surgeon, were not immediately returned to ABCNews.com.Hernandez ordered the cancellation of the child’s passport, made out to Karen Abigail Monahan
Vanhorn when she was adopted out of the country.
The court order says that the American Embassy should coordinate efforts with local agencies in
Guatemala to help locate the child in the U.S. and return her to Rodriguez. If she is not returned within
two months, Interpol will be solicited to help locate and return her, the court stated.
Nine Guatemalans, including a judge, have been charged in the case.
Survivors' Foundation said in a statement, "The resolution is considered historical and it's a light of
hope for all the Guatemalans, because the justice in Guatemala, despite all of the obstacles, is changing
not with giant steps but hopefully case by case."
In 2008, Loyda Rodriguez told ABCNews.com, "My daughter... was kidnapped as I was entering my
home. A woman appeared in my backyard and grabbed her out of my arms. There was nothing I could do."At the time, the child was known as Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez. Her birth mother said that
local police were indifferent to her case and offered virtually no help in finding the kidnappers.
The foundation said that Rodriguez and other mothers whose children have been victims of rampant
trafficking have endured "fear" and "desperation" in their constant search of their children for the last five years.
I write about Guatemala and the crisis of child kidnapping in my book "One Small Sacrifice." If you want to read the e-book version, email me: email@example.com. I will send it FREE!