Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dad released, arrested as flight, kidnap threat (Brevard County, Florida)

We posted on this case extensively back in 2009. And what we found then was that there was a lot more here than a little ride on a sail boat. What we uncovered was very probable collusion between the custody supervisor (who was a personal friend of the father) and the father, PAUL MARTIKAINEN. And incompetence/corruption on the part of Florida DCF and the family court. This was a father with a history of domestic violence and child abuse. And a father with no sailing experience who put this child at extraordinary risk.

In addition, as a friend of mine pointed out, GPS monitoring of a father like this does not provide safety for children.  It either subjects the mother and child to ALSO being monitored (in order to assure that the stalker is not in their vicinity), or else it fails when they are at locations other than home, work, or school.

Here are the points we raised back in 2009:

1) We still have no idea how Dad "dodged" the court-appointed visitation supervisor who was presumably supposed to stop the initial abduction. Are we supposed to believe that this person (who was a friend of the father!) was just a dimwit, and that it's just an amazing coincidence that Dad's "alleged" abuse was "verified" just days before by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and yet there was no stepped-up attention at all? At this point, why was visitation even continued? Clearly, Dad was pretty confident he could pull this stunt, since he had his sailboat all ready to go and waiting--and now repainted a battleship gray with all identifying numbers removed, so as to make detection more difficult. Why was Dad so confident? This "monitor" needs to be thoroughly investigated for any role he may have played in this fiasco. And subjected to any and all appropriate disciplinary actions including jail. But the authorities have refused to follow up.

2) In a move that the Florida Department of Children and Families is now famous for--deftly passing the buck and absolving itself of responsibility--DCF basically said "not my problem, man" because the mother had primary custody (so?) and "the child was under the supervision of the judge." And also, you know, the investigation was closed the day before Thanskgiving and our part was done. Well then. Maybe the judge needs to be fired along with most of the DCF staff. (As it turns out, the judge was CHARLIE ROBERTS, well known as a fathers rights judge.)

3) For the moronic enablers who still insist that Dad is not abusive or neglectful, consider the following points:

* Dad was taking a 3-year-old child out on a sailboat when Dad had little to no sailing experience, on a boat that was difficult to identify from the air because of the gray paint job. This made it difficult to catch, yes, but also difficult to locate in case of distress. Do you wonder if Dad even thought of that, or if he even cared?

* The boat had no EPIRB, a devise that helps rescuers locate boats in distress, and the boat had no child life vests. Though it's possible that Dad went out and bought a child vest, it sure didn't look like this was a priority given the context of his other actions. How do these actions rate in terms of Dad's overall concern for the boy's safety and well being, folks?

* Given that Dad appeared to be sailing alone, how did he, an inexperienced sailor, plan to supervise an active preschooler on a 32-foot sailboat? Is he going to devote himself totally to child care under the rather demanding circumstances? (I'd hate to be supervising a preschooler on a boat this size even if I had no other responsibilities.) Yea, sure he is. And embark on a crash course in sailing at the same time. How's that for multi-tasking? Actually it's just pure freaking stupidity. He's going to be ignoring the kid, that's what. He has no choice if he's going to keep the boat afloat.

* A bad storm was expected to move across the Gulf from Texas. But did a bad weather forecast put a crimp in Dad's plans? Did it make him reconsider his son's well-being in this nutty scheme for even a second? Apparently not.

4) Why are these guy's "rights" even under consideration at this point? We now find out that Dad gave up his parental rights after the initial divorce in 2005, when the baby hadn't even been born yet! The couple then makes an effort to reconcile, so Dad changes his mind and wants joint custody because he's "developed a bond" with the child. Yea, right. Work out the timeline. Basically as soon as Dad enters the picture, he's abusing the child. And not "alleged" abuse as initially reported in error. We're talking "verified" abuse. So you want to tell me about bonding? My @$$.

5) Note that in addition to the "verified" (not "alleged") child abuse charges, this guy has a general criminal record that includes drug trafficking. Oh yes, great dad this one.

Father released, arrested as flight, kidnap threat

1:11 AM, Aug. 31, 2011

After Paul Martikainen took his son from a Cocoa park during a supervised visit in 2009, local police officers wanted to arrest him for interfering with child custody.

But the 35-year-old father's ensuing attempt to flee the country by sailing across the Gulf of Mexico elevated a kidnapping charge against him, and he went on to serve part of a 22-month sentence in a federal prison.
Martikainen was freed Monday, but the Cocoa Police Department's warrant still stood: He was promptly re-arrested and returned to the Brevard County Detention Center.

But with the chance that the former Palm Bay man could post bond, prosecutors and the 5-year-old boy's mother feared the same kidnapping scenario could recur.

Martikainen, a native of Finland, often had expressed plans to leave the country with his son, they said.
"He is a flight risk," Assistant State Attorney Gary Beatty said as Martikainen made an initial court appearance Tuesday. "The mother . . . is very concerned that there is going to be a repeat of this, of him attempting to get the child away."

Martikainen took his son, Luke Finch, from Cocoa Riverfront Park when a court-appointed monitor stepped away in November 2009. He traveled across the state and boarded a sailboat in Fort Myers in an attempt to reach Mexico.

Three days later and about 140 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach, the Coast Guard caught up with the boat. The boy was unharmed and returned to Martikainen's estranged wife, Christa Finch.

Because he crossed into international waters, Martikainen was sentenced to time ina federal prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping.

Standing before a judge on the original charge Tuesday, Martikainen was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet if he posts the $20,000 bond. The judge also told him not to go within one mile of his son and former wife.

"There is concern and likelihood that he may try to take his son back to Finland, where much of his family lives," an arrest warrant states.

Late Tuesday, Martikainen remained in jail. If convicted on the charge, he faces a maximum of five years in a state prison.