Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dad who abducted, murdered 1-year-old son had shared custody; protective mom had wanted sole custody, but lost (Urbandale, Illinois)

This is not good reporting. With any understanding of domestic violence and narcissistic personality disorder, you would not make the error of calling this a "troubled relationship" involving a father who "cared for his son."

First of all, there was nothing that was "troubling" about the "relationship" as such. Mom clearly tried to be responsible and do the right thing. She was dealing with a man who could not/would not hold a job, was unreliable, moved in an out of the home on a whim, and ultimately created (unspecified) "domestic disturbances."  (I assume that this is a euphemism for domestic violence that the reporters can't bother to follow up on.) No charges followed (typical). So at any rate, the problems clearly laid with the father. Not mom. Not "the relationship."

Mom tried to protect her baby from this unreliable deadbeat and likely abuser by seeking sole custody, but her efforts were defeated. She got stuck with shared custody instead. Needless to say, abusers very typically use "custody disputes" as a way to create anxiety and stress for the mother, especially when the child in question is merely a baby or barely verbal toddler.

The fathers rights people insist that any father with a pulse--no matter how violent, addicted, or crazy--should get joint custody at minimum. (Of course they prefer full father custody so women will be afraid to divorce them, but they don't like that brought out too often in mixed company.)

The predictable result: Daddy's still Not Happy. The self-centered, narcissistic deadbeat dad abducts the 1-year-old son, a baby really, Despite showy displays of affection that fool the babysitter (and very often other people as well), the man is incapable of real love or real empathy for another human being, even his own infant son. Like all sociopaths, he sees people only in terms of how they suit him and feed his narcissistic sense of entitlement. Right now, his only motivation is to punish the mom in the best way he knows how. And that is destroying her baby in a fiery inferno.

This is why fathers like this CAN'T be appeased with joint custody or any move that reinforces their sense of entitlement over other human beings.

Da is identified as ELVIS HABIBOVIC. Now on the Killer Dads and Custody list for Illinois.

Amber Alert mom: 'What he did was terrible'

Grant Rodgers and Danielle Ferguson, 9:49 a.m. CDT June 11, 2015

HARRISON COUNTY, Mo. – Sheriff Josh Eckerson stood looking at the burned-out remains of a sport-utility vehicle, unsure of what he was seeing.

In the driver's seat was the charred body of an adult — along with what looked like a much smaller body that Eckerson dearly hoped wasn't what he thought.

"I really couldn't determine what it was," he said. "I didn't want to believe it."

When the Amber Alert came about 41/2 hours later from the Urbandale Police Department, Eckerson's fears were realized. He was a witness to the tragic ending to the lives of a 9-month-old boy and the father who abducted him hours earlier and more than 100 miles away.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Angle confirmed Wednesday that the bodies in the vehicle are believed to be little Logan Habibovic and his father, 33-year-old Elvis Habibovic.

Harrison County Coroner Jeremy Eivins said it could take 30 days or more to determine the cause of death because of the condition of the bodies.

But authorities found hosing near the vehicle, leading investigators to believe the two likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes, Eckerson said.

Investigators are continuing to look for answers behind the abduction and deaths. Logan's baby sitter and family friend Angela Charlier said Habibovic's relationship with Logan's mother, Melissa Zeimet, disintegrated last weekend over concerns about money, and he was forced to leave the Urbandale apartment they shared.

"I think he was very depressed," she said. #The baby sitter mourned Wednesday over the boy she'd cared for almost daily. Logan learned to crawl at 6 months. He was tall and skinny for his young age, Charlier said.

"He was pulling himself up on furniture," she said. "He was good at it. He just took off." #Logan would have turned 1 in August.

The abduction timeline

Habibovic picked up the boy around 11 a.m. that day, saying he just wanted to take his son on a walk, according to Charlier and a timeline released by police.

Zeimet called and spoke with Habibovic around 4:15 p.m. to be sure Logan would be home by 8 p.m.

Zeimet called Urbandale police at 8:19 p.m. to report the boy missing. It was only 30 minutes later that authorities in Missouri found a burned-out vehicle at the rural Grand Trace Conservation Area, 10 miles northwest of quiet Bethany, Mo. A passerby on a nearby highway had called the sheriff's department to report a plume of smoke.

Through the night before learning about the fire, Zeimet sent Habibovic frantic text messages, she said Wednesday. At 9:12 p.m., she texted, "How could you?"

Later, at 12:08 a.m., she sent, "If u bring him back safe and sound we make this all go away and you won't have any trouble."

"It was too late," Zeimet said in an interview. "They were already dead."

It would take about five hours before law enforcement in the two states connected the dots. Unaware of the gruesome discovery to their south, Urbandale police got authority to send an Amber Alert at 1:19 a.m. warning law enforcement to be on the lookout for Logan and Habibovic, who were likely traveling in a black 2003 Land Rover Discovery.

Missouri authorities saw that the charred vehicle matched the description from the Amber Alert. A vehicle identification number found on its frame confirmed their suspicion, said Eckerson, the county sheriff of 21/2 years.

Everything else, including the license plates, was destroyed by flames.

Urbandale police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol believe the remains of an infant and adult found in a burned vehicle are related to the Amber Alert issued early Wednesday morning. near Bethany, Missouri. Rodney White/The Register

"When we got the Amber Alert ... then I thought, 'This is probably what we're looking for,' " he said.

At 2 a.m., Eivins arrived and confirmed the second body was a young child's. Around the same time, Missouri authorities called Urbandale police, and two highway patrol officers immediately drove to the Des Moines suburb to do interviews and gather dental and DNA records for comparison.

The state fire marshal's office took evidence from the scene to determine whether any accelerants were used to fuel the fire. The SUV was taken away around 5 a.m.

Investigators are trying to determine how Habibovic and his son ended up in the parking lot of the 1,500-acre public hunting and fishing area, which is so isolated that Eckerson had to lead local responders through the turns, hills and rough roads to the vehicle.

At the site of the fire, a patch of blackened gravel remained and a nearby tree's leaves were singed up to about 15 feet above the ground.

"It's just hard to try to wrap your brain around someone, not only a parent, but any individual who would want to harm a child," Eckerson said. "An innocent individual who hasn't done anything, who really has just started their life. To do this is unbelievable."

#Troubled relationship

The parents met about a decade ago through a friend Zeimet knew at Iowa State University, she said.

Even before Zeimet got pregnant, Habibovic moved in with her in 2013 when he needed a place to stay, she said. It started a pattern: He'd move in with Zeimet for a few months at a time before leaving.

Most recently, he came back to the Urbandale apartment in late April after losing his job with Ankeny-based G & I Trucking, Zeimet said.

"He texted me and said, 'I just got fired, take good care of Logan if I don't make it home.' " Zeimet convinced her child's father to take a Greyhound bus back to the metro and move in, she said.

When she got pregnant with Logan, Habibovic was clear that he wanted her to have the child, she said. It was obvious when the two were together that the father cared for his son, Zeimet said.

She has pictures on her phone of the two together on Memorial Day, and Habibovic holding Logan behind the wheel of the Land Rover that they both died in Tuesday night.

His final act, though, was selfish and evil, Zeimet said.

"Maybe he wasn't a terrible person," she said. "But what he did was terrible."

Zeimet had to force Habibovic out on Sunday after fighting about money, she said. After losing his job at the trucking company, he was making less working for a construction company, she said.

Urbandale police visited Zeimet's Carole Circle apartment Sunday and Monday in response to a report of an "unwanted guest," records show. On Monday, Habibovic had come over claiming he needed a quick shower, but stayed for hours, Zeimet said.

The couple had other tensions in their relationship, records show.

In November, the mother filed a petition in Polk County District Court seeking sole custody of Logan, a move Habibovic initially opposed.

That same month, Urbandale police twice responded to calls at Zeimet's apartment — one for a welfare check and the second for a domestic disturbance. No incident report was taken on either call, according to police records.

Before the parents worked out a shared custody agreement in February, Habibovic successfully asked for a court-ordered genetic test to establish paternity of Logan.

There was an outpouring of condolences in 92 comments on Zeimet's Facebook page after she announced her son's death around 5 a.m.

"This is gut-wrenching," one commenter wrote. "I can't imagine the pain you are facing. Be strong."

Charlier remembered Logan as a happy baby. His active personality led his mother to call him a "little monkey," she said. A photo of Logan sticking his tongue out that was released with an early morning Amber Alert perfectly captured his personality. #He liked stuffed animals and blankets with monkeys on them.

"He always had his little fist in his mouth," Charlier said. "He was very loved."

"He laughed at everything and he was a happy baby," Zeimet said. "He was easy … it was like nature gave me this amazing baby." -- Reporter Danielle Ferguson contributed to this story.