Still more details about Amber Nicklas

The Daily Mail, a semi-tabloid newspaper from Britain, has picked up the Amber Nicklas story. In this article they state Amber’s keepers (don’t know what else to call them: they’re not a legitimate foster family, they didn’t legally adopt her, they didn’t kidnap her and they’re not related to her) are Romanian and she speaks Romanian as well as English. I also found this exclusive interview with the Romanian family, who are described as “gypsies.” That term is not strictly PC anymore, and I doubt the family calls themselves that.

This news source, which interviewed the family, also said the family was part of the Romanian community, but not whether they were born in Romania or in the US. They said they hadn’t realized at first that she had been kidnapped, and when they found out they had gotten too attached to her to give her up. They claim they tried to enroll her in school but they didn’t have the papers to do it. The father says she is “very bright” and they tried to educate her at home, but they didn’t do very well — she can’t read or write. Perhaps the family didn’t know English well enough to teach her to read in that language.

I feel deeply sorry for this girl. She has been victimized three times over: first when she was taken from her family and put in a foster home, then when she was abducted from the foster home, and now that she’s been taken from the only family she knows. I wonder if there’s any chance the Romanians could regain custody of her.

That is a tricky question. On the one hand, the Romanian family seems to have loved her and taken good care of her (besides not enrolling her in school), and it may be “in the best interests of the child” to give her back to them, especially since her biological relatives were deemed unfit. On the other hand, she was unlawfully taken, and the Romanians knew this and they knew it was against the law to keep her, and they didn’t enroll her in school. (Whether they could have or not, under the circumstances, is another issue. But a child should be in school, and lots of children have been taken away from their real, custodial parents for truancy.)

I’m glad I’m not the judge or social worker or whoever who has to decide what to do with Amber.

Here’s another question: why has Amber got so much media attention when Quranah Gilliam, who was located under very similar circumstances, hardly got any? I didn’t even find out about Quranah’s recovery for over a year.

More details about Amber Nicklas

Yesterday I wrote about Amber Nicklas, a foster child abducted by relatives, being found after six years. She turned up in the care of an unrelated family in Phoenix. I found this article that gives more details about her disappearance and family situation. Her mother had given up parental rights and Amber was living with her grandmother when she was “forcibly removed.”

Amber’s three teenage aunts had a court-approved visitation with her when they took her to a restaurant and snatched. Two of them were caught and sent to juvy, but the third, thirteen-year-old Sabrina, was missing with Amber for the next six years. Police have located and interviewed Sabrina. They say they think Amber was living with this family in Phoenix where she was found since shortly after her disappearance. The family hasn’t faced any charges yet and may not be charged. They say they adopted her, which I guess is sort of true, but they obviously knew there was something not strictly kosher about this “adoption.”

This case has made huge news, even outside the USA. I’m not sure why, since this was a family abduction.

Child missing for six years found safe in Phoenix

I found several articles about a foster child who was kidnapped out of foster care from Norwalk, California at the age of one, six years ago. She has been located safe in Phoenix, Arizona — curiously, living with a family not related to her. DNA tests confirmed her identity. None of the articles give the name of the child, but it has to be Amber Nicklas. She matches all the other particulars, including the exact date of disappearance.

While Amber was in good health when she was found, she had never been to school. Her name and birthdate had also changed. Fortunately as she is only seven, she won’t have much school to catch up on.


Los Angeles Times blog
MyFox Phoenix
San Francisco Chronicle
Pasadena Star News