The Florida media seems intent on forgetting that this wasn't just an afternoon ride in a sailboat. It was in a sailboat painted gray, with all identifying marks removed, with no navigation equipment, and no life vests on board. And it was an abduction by a father, PAUL MARTIKAINEN, who had a history of drug trafficking, child abuse, and domestic violence. But boy, is Daddy slick....
Dad Who Kidnapped Son Wants Custody
Paul Martikainen Plans To Fight Local Charges After Sailing Off With Son
POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
UPDATED: 7:28 pm EDT August 31, 2011
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -- For the first time, the father who made national headlines when he kidnapped his son and took him sailing in the Gulf of Mexico is speaking about the ordeal.
Paul Martikainen disappeared with his son for days in December 2009 until the Coast Guard caught up with his sailboat. He did not have custody of his son and he pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges, but now he is in the Brevard County Jail, fighting local charges.
Martikainen told Local 6 reporter Erik von Ancken that he had to "rescue" his son for his own good, which he said he plans to tell a judge.
"For three weeks I had been stockpiling the boat with his favorite toys, his favorite foods," Martikainen said.
Martikainen said he planned to take his son, Luke, to remove him from the middle of a nasty custody battle, so, during a court ordered supervised visit with his son in Cocoa, he took his chance and slipped away with his son and head to the harbor where his boat was docked.
"The plan was to spend time with my son and that's it. I was happy with every day, every moment I got uninterrupted with him," Martikainen said.
The Coast Guard got a tip a few days after Martikainen sailed off and found the father and son in the Gulf.
Martikainen said he spotted the surveillance plane and knew it was over, so he cherished his final moments with his son and gave up peacefully. He said his son wanted to go with him and did not mind being away from his mother.
"He knew nothing but joy. Played games, ate his favorite foods. We just bonded the whole time," Martikainen said.
He said he knew what he was doing was legally wrong, but he was looking out for his son's well-being.
Martikainen said he saw the reunion video of his son with his ex-wife, Christa Finch, and he thinks she was pandering to the media.
Finch has accused Martikainen of abuse, and he accuses her of traumatizing their son.
Eventually, a judge will decide who is telling the truth and who will ultimately get custody of Luke.
Martikainen acknowledged it will be tough to get custody of his son with a federal kidnapping conviction on his record, but he now knows to fight the battle in court.
Martikainen said he was talked into pleading guilty to the federal charges, but he will fight the local charges of interfering with child custody and try to get out of jail. He will be in court on Sept. 28 to face those charges.
Finch said on Wednesday she still fears for her life and does not believe her ex-husband.