LIBERTY, Mo. — A Missouri couple will not be forced by U.S. officials to return a girl adopted from Guatemala in 2008, despite evidence that the girl was kidnapped from her birth mother by a child trafficking ring, Guatemalan officials said on Monday.
Timothy and Jennifer Monahan of Liberty adopted the then-four-year-old girl in 2008. The child was kidnapped from her mother in the small Guatemalan town of San Miguel Petapa in November of 2006.
According to a Guatemalan official citing a diplomatic cable from the U.S. State Department, the couple will not be forced by the U.S. to return the child to her mother because neither the U.S. nor Guatemala had signed Hague Abduction Convention — a treaty regarding international kidnapping — at the time of the kidnapping.
The two nations signed the agreement in January 2008.
Last August, a Guatemalan judge ruled that there was no evidence that the Monahans had any knowledge of the trafficking ring or of any illegal activity.
According to the Associated Press, the child — Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez — was born Oct. 1, 2004, the second child of Loyda Rodriguez, a housewife, and her bricklayer husband, Dayner Orlando Hernandez.
The girl disappeared Nov. 3, 2006, as Rodriguez was distracted while opening the door to their house in a working class suburb, San Miguel Petapa. The AP reports that she turned to see a woman whisk the girl, then 2 years old, away in a taxi.
Rodriguez spent over a year at an adoption agency before being adopted by the Monahans, the AP reports.
When contacted by FOX 4 last August, the Monahan’s left a note on their home which read, “Please respect our privacy at this time.”
Problems with child trafficking has caused the U.S. State Department to put a stop on all adoptions from Guatemala.