Last Wednesday night as Rose Mary Chacón returned with her daughter Adrianna to her home in Lima’s San Borja district, she felt a strange sensation. From the inside of a car, parked near the front of her house, she could feel someone staring at her.
Rose’s world was turned upside down in a matter of moments. Two men rushed upon the mother and violently forced Adrianna out of her arms. The attackers then fled with the five-year-old into the distance and an on to an unknown destination.
Nearly 12 hours later Adrianna was located safe and well at San Bartolo, a beach resort to the South of Lima. Also found in her company were her two abductors; British citizen Kevin Critchley and American citizen Dustin Kent, Andrea’s own father.
Critchley, a retired Scotland Yard detective, has been accused of working for an international criminal Mafia. Óscar Gonzales Rabanal chief of the Peruvian National Police’s people trafficking unit, believes that the Mafia is dedicated to finding and kidnapping children at the behest of estranged parents.
Kent is accused of soliciting the services of Critchley’s organization after his marriage to Adrianna’s mother collapsed and she returned to Peru taking the five-year-old with her.
Kent and Critchley’s plan appears to have been to flee with Adrianna across the border to Bolivia and take a flight back to the States.
Due to the violent manner in which the child was taken from her mother, Kent and Critchley now face charges of aggravated kidnap levelled against them, in addition to a two-month preventative detention which both men have both been ordered to serve.
Claims made by Ms. Chacón that she had returned to Peru with her daughter because of “inappropriate touching” by the child’s father will have only reinforced public antipathy towards Kent, further increasing the impression that he is a disturbed and dangerous man.
Chacón was unequivocal in her view of what should happen to Kent: “that man should rot in jail”.
Another side to the story?
In the last few days however new facts have emerged which suggest that the case is not as clear cut as it originally seemed.
Speaking to the programme Reporte Semanal, Dustin Kent’s parents claimed that it was in fact Rose Chacón who broke the law after fleeing the U.S. with their granddaughter a year ago, some three months before a legal dispute over Andrea’s custody would be decided in Kent’s favor. Legal documents produced on the programme confirm the Kents’ claim.
According to the family Rose Chacón only married their son to avoid deportation from the U.S. Once she had acquired citizenship she then sought full custody of Andrea. It was when Rose was granted visitation rights that the accusations of inappropriate touching began.
The Kents’ strongly deny the veracity of Chacón’s claims, a stance that was validated when the Los Angeles Supreme Court referred to them in an April 2015 ruling, granting Kent full custody of Andrea.
In the family’s eyes Dustin Kent is a doting father who has himself had to suffer the psychological and financial consequences of illegal child abduction.
Statements made by Kent on social media convey the emotion of a man at breaking point and frustrated with the “red tape” and the slow pace of the legal battle that lay ahead of him to recover Adriana through the Peruvian courts.
“I just want to be reunited with my adoring daughter, and feel it is unfair for a system to make you go into financial death to see your own child again” stated Kent on his Go Fund Me page set up to finance his legal costs.
No happy ending
Regardless of the wrongs that might have been done against him however, there will not likely be a happy ending for Kent. Peruvian legal expert Carlos Caro Coria told El Comercio that even though the mother violated U.S. custody law, the father will still face charges of instigating a kidnapping.
“It’s still a kidnapping because the aggrieved person is not the mother but the girl. She has been taken out of the sphere of care of her mother against her will. If the mother did or didn’t have the custody of the girl that’s and issue for North American law to resolve and there will be consequences, but it’s a completely separate issue,” opined the lawyer.