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Durham Mother Fighting to Prevent Son From Visiting Colombia

Posted September 17, 2007

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— A Durham custody dispute is stretching all the way to South America. Alejandro Ramirez, 11, lives in Durham with his mother; his father lives in Colombia.

“He is just the most wonderful thing in the world. He's what I've always dreamed about in a son,” said Claudia Krehbiel, Alejandro's mother.

Alejandro's father, Eduardo Ramirez, wants to see him. His mother is OK with that – as long as the father comes to Durham.

Krehbiel filed a complaint with the Judicial Standards Commission after District Judge Craig Brown decided to allow Alejandro to go to Colombia. She and her lawyer said the judge did not allow enough time for them to call witnesses to prove Colombia has too many kidnappings and is too dangerous for the youth.

Colombia is in northwestern South America. There is ongoing conflict there with rebel guerrilla groups.

“Judge Brown really didn't take the time to consider all the facts, all the risks to my son, and it seemed like he had made up his mind even before listening to any of the evidence that we had,” said Krehbiel.

Despite those accusations, the attorney representing Alejandro's father said the judge has heard this case for two years and had plenty of information to make his decision.

“He's heard a week-plus of testimony, primarily from the mother's side. She brought experts and other people to talk about how bad things are in Colombia,” attorney Bob Meynardie said.

Eduardo's side maintains Colombia's situation is improving; not enough for Alejandro though. He keeps in contact with his father through e-mail, but does not want to visit him in Colombia.

“No, not right now. It's kind of dangerous, so it's kind of not the best thing,” said Alejandro.

Before a final decision is made, both parties will have to wait for a psychologist to study Alejandro's relationship with his father.

A decision could come in December. Brown did not return calls Monday from WRAL.

32 Comments

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  • HEELZareNumber1 Sep 18, 2007

    If the kid doesnt want to go, he shouldnt have to go! Especially if its only his father that wants it, if he wants to see him so bad then fly your a%$ up and see your son, we know you have the money because lawyers arent free nor are they cheap.

  • yacs Sep 18, 2007

    William Tell: "he does not want to go to columbia, but he is 11 so he does not have an opinion. If he was 18, then he would have an opinion. See how that works, children get told what they are going to do, not telling adults what they are going to do."

    Unless the parent is placing the child in danger. Don't know if going to Colombia does such a thing, but a child certainly has a right to raise concerns.

  • iamforjustice Sep 18, 2007

    I have been to Colombia 2 times. I can't judge a country on just 2 trips but from my understanding and what I have seen they conflict. I have only heard bad things about Colombia...especially the drug market...and high crime. I was treated very nicely as I walked down the city streets. But grant you I only visited Colombia twice in my life over a span of 5 years. Now, the question remains why can't the father come to NC? He might be hiding something. I believe that he will try to kidnap the child. If he gets the child there United States will not fight to get him back. She will be without a son.

  • -info- Sep 18, 2007

    I could retire in Columbia too, using 2 years worth of lawyers fees........I am not responsible for Bush either but I would never deny I am an american, I dont care who the president is because no mans political decision defines who I am......But this alone say something.........

  • Dreamin of Disney World Sep 18, 2007

    It's sad..the mother has convinced the son that he would be in danger there. Has the son ever been there? How is he so sure that he doesn't want to go. He obviously has a good relationship with his father via e-mail. But his mother's daily influence is apparent. He should go.

  • gopanthers Sep 18, 2007

    If this kid goes (like others have said) he will never come back. Mom will never see him again (well maybe if she goes to Colombia to find him).

  • Timbo Sep 18, 2007

    He ain't coming back. No court in NC can do anything about it.

  • my3kidz Sep 18, 2007

    If the father can afford to fight this so much in court, why can't he just use that money and spend time in NC? Seems a better use of his time and money. I don't blame the mother. Not necessarily for the danger in Colombia, but if the father refuses to return the child how easy would it be to get an enforcable court order to return the child from out of the country? Sometimes that's hard enough to do with the state next door.

  • Adelinthe Sep 18, 2007

    If it were me, I'd go with him.

    Praying for the child.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Aries82 Sep 18, 2007

    I've been to several South American countries, and I would not feel safe about sending one of my children down to visit or for church business. We deal with murders and kidnappings here in the US, but you have no idea what it's like down there unless you've been. Americans travel to these countries thinking you have the same rights there that you have here. No you don't, you're at the mercy of whoever controls the area.

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