Lawsuit against police dismissed in Tyler/Ariana Payne case

A recap: Tyler and Ariana Payne were abducted by their non-custodial father, Christopher Payne, in Tucson, Arizona in 2006. He took them from their mother, Jamie Hallam, for what was supposed to be a few days, and never gave them back. Hallam had full custody of the kids, who hadn’t seen their father in years. He had no visitation rights, but he convinced Hallam to let him see the kids. After a few months of trying to get Christopher to return the children, Hallam called the police. They located the children, but on the (bad) advice of Arizona’s Child Protective Services, refused to return them to their mother. Christopher, you see, had filed for temporary custody. Never mind that no decision had been made and Hallam, their mother who had raised them from birth without Christopher’s help, still had full custody. Never mind that Christopher was $19,000 behind in his child support payments. The kids stayed with their father.

A few months later, Tyler and Ariana were both dead, having been systematically starved and abused by their father and their stepmother, Reina Gonzales. Ariana’s body turned up in a storage locker in 2007, after Christopher the Genius stopped making the rent payments. (Way to evade detection, dumbass.) Tyler’s was never found. Christopher was sentenced to death and Gonzales to 22 years for the kids’ murders.

Hallam filed a lawsuit against CPS and the Tucson PD, arguing — quite rightly — that if they had just done their damn jobs properly and returned the kids to her, the custodial parent, then they wouldn’t have died. CPS settled and admitted they made “mistakes” in the case. And (I just found this out), back in October, the case against the police department was dismissed. According to this article:

In a nine-page decision released today, Judge Carmine Cornelio said there was no evidence on that day “that there was a high probability that substantial harm would result from their failure to remove the children from (Christopher Payne’s) custody and care.”

[…]

In his ruling, Cornelio pointed out the first time there was any indication there was anything wrong in the Payne household was in mid-April when one of Payne’s relatives said Ariana appeared “dirty and scrawny” and when Gonzales said Payne lost his job and began abusing the children.

“Given the lack of temporal connection between the time of TPD’s visit to Payne’s apartment on March 9, 2006, and any evidence concerning the abuse and neglect, plaintiffs cannot establish causation between TPD’s actions and the abuse of the children,” Cornelio wrote.

Mystery child, presumed to be a tsunami victim, found alive and well

A person emailed this article to me: a six-year-old girl living in Colombo, Sri Lanka is believed to have been one of those lost in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. I’m not sure why the authorities are so sure about this, but they have stated that the people she was living with are not her real parents and she may have come from Galle, which was hit hard by the tsunami. She would have been an infant at the time. Wikipedia says Galle is 119 kilometers, or about 75 miles, from Colombo.

The adoptive parents claim they bought the girl from a person on the street for eighteen bucks. This article says the cops think a staff member at a hospital in Galle sold the baby and the price was $23.

The authorities have said the girl was attending school and she wasn’t abused. She has been taken into foster care while they try to find her real parents. I wonder, if her real parents turn out to be dead, will the adoptive ones be allowed to keep her. It sounds like that would be the best thing for the child. This is the only family she knows. On the other hand, buying a stolen baby is wrong and illegal and that kind of behavior should not be rewarded by letting the buyers keep the kid.

When the tsunami happened I remembered thinking that I wouldn’t be surprised if children were kidnapped and sold in the chaos that resulted from the disaster. A kidnapper would be highly likely to get away with it — assuming the crime was discovered at all and people didn’t just think the child died in the tsunami, it would be very difficult to trace the person who took it.