HOUSTON – A Maryland woman who fled 10 years ago with her son to Mexico after a custody dispute has been arrested and flown back to the United States, officials said.
Tamara Kennedy, a U.S. citizen and her now 14-year-old son, Joseph Alexander Kennedy, disappeared from Maryland in 1998, shortly before sole custody of the boy was to be given to the child's father, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Brandon A. Montgomery.
Kennedy was found while trying to renew passports for herself and her son at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
Kennedy was turned over to Mexican immigration officials for being in the country illegally on Tuesday. Mexican immigration officials then turned Kennedy and her son over to ICE's custody, and the pair flew to Houston on Wednesday to be interviewed by federal authorities.
ICE officials are still questioning Kennedy, Montgomery said, adding she did not know whether any charges have yet been filed.
In 2007, Maryland State Police requested assistance from ICE, which obtained a federal warrant on Kennedy for knowingly removing a child from the U.S. with intent to obstruct parental rights, Montgomery said.
The boy's father, Donald Wiswell, came to Houston on Wednesday in hopes of being reunited with his son.
But Child Protective Services officials will keep the boy in custody until the investigation is completed.
"In cases like this, there have been many years of separation, and there may be allegations by the parent who fled with him that we need to look at before reuniting to make sure the transition is smooth and the child is safe," said Houston CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin.
The boy will be placed in foster care and a custody hearing is scheduled for Monday, Olguin said.