February 22, 2010 — In 2007, Michael McCarty a father who lived in Washington, was involved in a custody battle with his ex-wife Manuela Antonelli. She accused him of abuse. After an investigation, the police discovered her accusations were “unfounded,” “baseless,” and “false.” Manuela Antonelli was diagnosed with multiple personality disorders and sole legal and physical custody of their son Liam was given to Michael McCarty.
On the fifth of March 2007, Manuela Antonelli kidnapped her son and took him to Italy. Since then, Michael McCarty has been fighting to bring his son home. When it seemed as if Michael McCarty was making progress, Manuela Antonelli abducted Liam again. Italian authorities could not find Liam and his mother. Then, news came that Manuela Antonelli had been arrested in Rome.
In a follow up interview with the Seattle stay-at-home moms examiner, Michael McCarty shared his quest to bring Liam McCarty home:
Examiner: How did the authorities find your ex-wife Manuela Antonelli?
MM: There was a hearing in Rome Juvenile Court to discuss alternatives to placing Liam back in the orphanage and she actually appeared at the hearing, without Liam of course. The Rome police came and arrested her, and put her in a Roman prison for a few days. She continued to refuse to say where Liam was.
Examiner: After Manuela Antonelli was taken into custody, what happened to Liam?
MM: The following day the Court issued it’s decision granting temporary foster placement of Liam to the maternal uncle. Later that afternoon Liam was anonymously dropped off at a Rome police precinct, in the rain and carrying a backpack. He asked to call his mother’s attorney. Whoever dropped him fled the scene.
Examiner: How are you doing and are there any updates about your case?
MM: As you can imagine it’s a lot of mixed emotions, above all I’m glad that Liam is safe, he appears to be doing well and the uncle seems to have his heart in the right place. It sounds like the uncle has been estranged from the rest of the family, largely because of the situation with Liam. It has been reported that Liam is returning to being a normal child and doing so with amazing speed; he has been laughing, joking and playing. He has also been talking about me, still in some conflicted terms but also expressing that he loves me and misses me. This is something that he hasn’t been free to express in almost three years, so it’s pretty amazing. I’m flying over in a couple of weeks for my first real visit with my son in 3 years; I’m nervous and excited.
Examiner: What can we do to help you bring Liam home?
MM: I of course have legal custody in the US, something the Italians continue to ignore. However, it appears that the only obstacle left to having Liam returned to my custody under Italian law is to now demonstrate to the courts that he is comfortable with me. That’s going to require me going over to Italy as often as possible for the next several months, and of course that the uncle and the authorities in charge do the right thing. The SaveLiam fund is trying to raise money to help me with the travel and legal expenses, which people can find at www.saveliam.org. It’s also important that people continue to reach out to the State Department, elected officials, and local media to keep the awareness of Liam’s story alive.
We’re also working with the Bring Sean Home Foundation to help bring awareness to my case and the broader issue of International Child Abduction; some big changes have to happen, more children are abducted from the United States than any other country, it shouldn’t require spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and being one of the select few whose story gets in the media simply to have a chance at getting your child safely home, there are thousands of parents in my situation. But hopefully each success can bring a little more hope to everyone in this position.
You can also help by spreading the word about Liam. Tweet or email this article to people you know. You can also click on share this at the bottom of the page.
Thanks to Michael McCarty for the interview.
For more information:
Facebook group for Saveliam.org
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