This is a frightening precedent.
Two months ago, a custodial mother and her 3-year-old son "disappeared" from the apartment they shared with the boy's father after "an argument." It does not appear that the parents were married. There was never any suggestion that the boy was endangered by the mother in any way. The mother and son have visited at least one domestic violence shelter, but because of confidentiality concerns, authorities won't identify which one (well thank goodness for that at least.)
During the interim, an unnamed judge gave the father FULL CUSTODY. And now the media, the police, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are all tracking down the mother and her son like dogs.
WHY? This is an outrage.
Police investigating missing mom, son from Sharon Hill
Published: Saturday, January 23, 2010
By TIMOTHY LOGUE
SHARON HILL — A missing 3½-year-old boy and his mother have visited at least one domestic abuse shelter since they disappeared two months ago, police said.
“One of our officers took a report of (a siting) as recently as two weeks ago,” Sharon Hill Police Detective Richard Herron Jr. said of Danielle Horvat and her son, Garrett Aguilar.
Police said Horvat, 33, and the boy’s father, David Aguilar, had an argument on the morning of Nov. 23 at the apartment they shared in the Spring Village complex in the 600 block of Poplar Street.
“Then he went to work and when he came home, they were gone,” said Officer Stephen J. Mummo.
Though police immediately started an investigation, Mummo said charges were never filed because Garrett was with a custodial parent and there was no evidence he was in any immediate physical danger.
“There were no priors at that residence, no domestic abuse calls or (protection from abuse orders),” Mummo said.
On Jan. 20, a judge awarded full custody of the boy to David Aguilar, prompting police to reach out to the media and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“I just got off the phone with one of their case managers and they are putting together a flier and information on the Internet,” Mummo said. “The focus with be in the (tri-state) area, especially in the Upper Chichester area where she is from.”
Horvat is a 1995 graduate of Sun Valley High School.
“We have no criminal charges pending against Ms. Horvat,” said Chief Robert Tinsley. “With that in mind, we would like to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”
Police said Horvat has not told her family about any prior abuse or said she left because she feared for her safety, or for the welfare of her son.
The county’s domestic abuse shelters promise confidentiality to their residents and police are not privy to anything more than the most basic information.
“We work through the county or the D.A.’s office in these circumstances,” Mummo said. “And all they can tell us is, ‘They came into one of our shelters and they are OK.’”
Police are still not certain why Horvat decided to flee.
“There was no definitive answer (for leaving) that we know of,” Mummo said. “Apparently, she just didn’t want to go back.”
Information on Horvat and Garrett has been logged into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
“There is a good chance she has no idea this custody has come down,” Herron said. “Right now, our main concern is for the safety of the child.”