Bulgarian mother of the little Roma girl wants her daughter back
By Karl Penhaul, CNN
updated 4:16 AM EDT, Mon October 28, 2013
CNN's Karl Penhaul interviews birth parents of "Maria"
Mother says: "I will take care of her. She's mine."
DNA match traced birth parents of Maria to the village of Nikolaevo
Greek Roma couple who raised Maria are in custody charged with kidnapping
Sofia, Bulgaria (CNN) -- The birth parents of "Maria" stumble out of a studio in the Bulgarian capital, minutes after their first major TV interview.
Surrounded by bright lights and state-of-the art technology, Saska Ruseva and her husband Atanas Rusev are a world away from the tumbledown Roma village where they live in central Bulgaria.
Back in Nikolaevo, there are no street lights. Their house is made of mud brick and straw.
The couple were a world away too from Maria, the blond toddler found during a police raid of a Roma camp in Greece. DNA tests last week showed the Resevs were her biological parents.
'Maria' Case Leads Greek Police to Child Trafficking Ring
Crime | October 27, 2013, Sunday // 09:53
Over 100 Bulgarian children have been adopted from the hospital in Greece, where Bulgarian Roma girl Maria was born.
Maria was, most likely, part of an organized crime scheme for the sale of Bulgarian children in Greece.
This was reported specially for Novinite.com from the site www.zougla.gr, the Greek News Portal of popular investigative journalist and TV presenter Makis Triantafyllopoulos.
Currently the Subdivision of Internal Affairs of the Greek Police is conducting an extensive search in the archives of the hospital of Lamia and the registrar of the municipality, in connection with the case of little Maria – "the Blond Angel," who, as has revealed earlier by zougla.gr, was born in the town of Lamia on January 31, 2009.
Next week, South Carolina Judge Marsh Robertson has a hearing scheduled for the finalization of the adoption of Oklahoma-born infant, Merry Rejoice Bixler, better known as “Baby Deseray,” in Greenville County family court. The hearing, on Monday, October 28, comes a little over a month after Oklahoma County Judge Allen Welch granted custody of the girl to the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and ordered her return to that state.
Four months after her removal, Mike Nomura, the Oklahoma administrator for the Interstate Custody for the Placement of Children (ICPC) applications, approved the paperwork for the child's adoptive parents, Bobby and Diane Bixler, of Irmo, South Carolina. The Bixlers are represented by Raymond Godwin, attorney for Nightlight Christian Adoptions of Greenville, South Carolina, and by Nomura's friend and colleague, Tulsa-based attorney Paul Swain in Oklahoma. (All of them declined to comment on this story.)
Jeffrey Baldwin inquest: Children’s aid almost sent Jeffrey, sister to foster care
Violent incident at welfare office nearly prompted removal of children to foster care, but mother’s suggestion led them to be placed with grandparents instead, social worker tells inquest.
Retired Catholic Children's Aid Society social worker Margarita Quintana leaves the Jeffrey Baldwin inquest after testifying Wednesday.
LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR Order this photo
By: Jacques Gallant Staff Reporter, Published on Thu Oct 24 2013
Jeffrey Baldwin and his older sister were almost placed in foster care before a hastily made decision saw them go to their grandparents instead, where Jeffrey would starve to death, an inquest heard Thursday.
During her second day of testimony at the coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death, retired Catholic Children’s Aid Society case worker Margarita Quintana said that throughout her dealings with the Baldwin family from 1994 to 1998, she never had any intention of apprehending the children and placing them in foster care until a March 1998 incident changed her mind.
Jeffrey Baldwin: Social worker had no “concerns” with grandparents, inquest told
Catholic Children’s Aid’s files were never checked on couple later convicted of boy’s murder.
Jeffrey Baldwin and one of his siblings were severely abused by their grandparents. The 5-year-old starved to death in 2002. Bottineau and Kidman are in prison, having been convicted of second-degree murder.
By: Jacques Gallant Staff Reporter, Published on Wed Oct 23 2013
Margarita Quintana was calm and matter-of-fact as she readily admitted that not a single background check was made on Jeffrey Baldwin’s grandparents before he and his siblings were placed in their care, where Jeffrey would ultimately starve to death.
The retired Catholic Children’s Aid Society social worker, who was the worker most involved with the Baldwin family, was this month’s most highly anticipated witness at the coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death.
By Karolina Tagaris
LARISSA, Greece | Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:08am EDT
Oct 23 (Reuters) - She has two identities and lived off thousands of euros a month in child benefits for nearly a dozen offspring that appear to exist only on paper, and but for one little girl would have continued the fraud Greek police say she perpetrated for two decades.
The girl is Maria, or the "blonde angel without an identity" as she has come to be known, and the woman is a 40-year-old Roma who claimed to be her mother but has been charged, along with her 39-year-old partner, with the girl's abduction.
The mystery surrounding Maria's real identity since she was discovered peeking out from under a blanket at a Roma settlement in central Greece has made headlines across the world and prompted a global search for her biological parents.
And in a debt-laden country eager to show foreign lenders it is reforming its state apparatus, the case has lifted the lid on a bumbling bureaucracy and patchy system of controls that allowed the girl to slip through the cracks.
October 23, 2013 - 12:05am
Group seeks help finding alleged abuser
By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A group supporting survivors of sexual abuse is asking for help in locating a former Big Island resident.
Jay Ram has been accused by five of his adopted sons of sexual abuse from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed in First Circuit Court.
Ram, also known as Gary Winnick, had adopted or fostered as many as two dozen boys over the years, according to Joelle Casteix, western regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The group, which mostly assists victims of abuse from priests, is assisting the plaintiffs.
Casteix believes there are other victims who have yet to come forward and is asking for their help, as well as assistance from isle residents and agencies who may have information on his whereabouts.
Ram is believed to live in India with another boy, she said, and has a mailbox address in Saipan. He may have lived on the isle as recently as two years ago, Casteix said.
Published October 21, 2013, 01:45 PM Minnesota couple accused of starving son enter plea
A southern Minnesota couple accused of starving their adopted son to the point that authorities said his bones were protruding reached a plea agreement with prosecutors Monday.
By: Amy Forliti, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A southern Minnesota couple accused of starving their adopted son to the point that authorities said his bones were protruding reached a plea agreement with prosecutors Monday.
Mona and Russell Hauer entered Alford pleas to one count each of child neglect. Mona Hauer pleaded to a felony, while Russell Hauer pleaded to a gross misdemeanor. An Alford plea is a form of guilty plea in which the defendant maintains his innocence, but agrees a jury could find him guilty based on the state's evidence.
According to the plea agreement, the Hauers could each face a maximum of 60 days in jail when they are sentenced next month, attorneys for the state and defense said. Prosecutor Michelle Zehnder Fischer said she has agreed to remain silent at sentencing, while the defense plans to ask for no jail time.
Greece's child-trafficking problem
By Giorgos Christides
Officials believe "Maria" may have been a victim of abduction, as Mark Lowen reports
A Roma couple have now been formally charged in Greece with abducting a young blonde, blue-eyed girl called Maria, who was found in a Roma camp in the centre of the country last Thursday.
Although the couple insist the girl was informally adopted and not abducted, the case has thrown the spotlight on the wider issue of child trafficking in Greece.
Criminal organisations bring hundreds of children from the Balkans to Greece, where they are subjected to forced labour, sex-trafficking or sold to couples, in Greece or abroad, in illegal adoption schemes.
"There are currently 3,000 children transited through Greece by child-trafficking rings. The children originate mainly from Bulgaria, Romania and other Balkan countries," says Lambros Kanellopoulos, the president of the UN children's agency Unicef in Greece.
Spanish couple charged with lethal drugging of adopted daughter
Oct. 20, 2013 | 8:23 PM | 0 comments
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A Spanish couple have been charged with killing the daughter they adopted from China 12 years ago by drugging her with sleeping pills.
Asunta Yong Fang Basterra Porto was found dead in September in a wooded area near a luxury villa inherited by her mother from her parents, ThinkSpain reported Sunday.
Her parents were charged with homicide, the Spanish equivalent of manslaughter, but that was recently upped to murder charges. Investigators said the 12-year-old girl had been given a lethal dose of sleeping pills shortly before her death.
Tests on her hair allegedly show she also received doses of drugs in July were large enough to knock her out.
Rosario Porto, who had worked as a lawyer, and her husband, Antonio Basterra, were separated at the time of Asunta's death but were living in houses next door to each other in Santiago de Compostela.
Charges against Spanish parents of China-born girl upped to murder
(AFP) – 3 days ago
Madrid — A Spanish judge on Friday upgraded charges relating to the death of the Chinese-born, 12-year-old adopted daughter of a couple from homicide to murder in a case that has gripped Spain.
Rosario Porto, a 44-year-old lawyer, and her ex-husband, 49-year-old journalist Alfonso Basterra, were charged last month with "homicide, possible murder" and imprisoned without bail while awaiting the results of toxicological tests on their daughter's body.
But after questioning the two suspects again on Friday, the judge leading the investigation raised the charges against them to murder because of "the aggravating circumstances of treachery and kinship", the High Court of Galicia said in a written statement.
Homicide is the legal term for killing without premeditation while murder charges apply in the case of a planned homicide.
A family court judge in South Carolina has scheduled a hearing on October 25 to finalize of the adoption of Baby Deseray, despite an Oklahoma court ruling last month that granted custody to the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, and ordered her return to that state. The infant, who was removed from Oklahoma shortly after her birth in May by Bobby and Diane Bixler of Irmo, South Carolina, has been the subject of a second heated interstate custody battle between an Oklahoma Indian tribe and the state of South Carolina. The Bixlers are represented by Raymond Godwin, attorney for Nightlight Christian Adoptions of Greenville, South Carolina, and Paul Swain, a Tulsa, Oklahoma attorney. Both lawyers also represented Matt and Melanie Capobianco in their adoption of Veronica, which was finalized in September after a bitter four-year custody battle with the girl's biological father, Dusten Brown.
Former Cape attorney charged with sexually exploiting a child
October 16, 2013
By TIFFANY REPECKI (email@example.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze
A former Cape Coral attorney is accused of sexually exploiting two boys between 2009 and 2011.
John Rex Powell, 41, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana. He is scheduled for a jury trial Oct. 28 before U.S. District Court Judge Sara Evans Barker.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven DeBrota and Brant Cook are handling the case.
Attorneys Kathleen Sweeney and Charles Hayes, in Indianapolis, are representing Powell.
Neither Sweeney nor Hayes returned a message Tuesday seeking comment on the case.