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Appeals court ends woman's quest to see adopted twins

Posted July 21, 2009

— The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday agreed with a Wake County judge who tossed out a lawsuit by a woman who gave up twins for adoption and later abducted them.

The unanimous ruling essentially closes the door on Allison Quets' quest to re-establish visitation rights with the two children, who are now 4 years old.

Quets, who gave birth to the twins but wasn't their biological mother, took the children from their adoptive parents, Kevin and Denise Needham of Apex, following an approved visit in December 2006. Authorities apprehended Quets a week later in Ottawa, Ontario, and returned the twins to the Needhams.

Quets later pleaded guilty to a charge of international kidnapping and was placed on probation for five years and fined $15,000.

Despite the kidnapping conviction, Quets continued to fight the adoption, saying she was ill after suffering medical problems during her pregnancy and that she signed adoption papers under duress.

After Florida trial and appellate courts terminated Quets' parental rights, she pursued the case in Wake County. She maintained the adoption was contingent upon her "retaining a continuing and familiar role" in the lives of the children after the adoption was finalized and sought visitation rights.

District Judge Anne Salisbury dismissed her claims last year, ruling she couldn't seek visitation because her parental rights had been terminated. Salisbury also ordered Quets to pay the Needhams' legal fees.

The Court of Appeals agreed with Salisbury that the validity of the adoption had been decided by Florida courts, so Quets couldn't continue to argue the case in North Carolina. But the appellate judges reversed Salisbury's order that Quets pay the Needhams' legal fees.

"I think the court recognized both the novelty and difficulty of the issues raised by (Quets') complaint filing and addressed those issues thoughtfully, if adversely, to Allison," said her attorney, Mike Harrell. "I am, of course, thrilled that the Court of Appeals reversed the sanctions ruling against Allison."

Harrell said Quets could still pursue the case in Florida, where a judge has never ruled on the Needhams' request to set aside the adoption agreement because of the kidnapping.

Speaking on behalf of the Needhams, friend Kat Moncol said, "They are relieved and happy with the decision. They hate that it had to come to this."

A Florida appeals court previously upheld an order for Quets to pay $28,000 in legal fees the Needhams amassed in that state.

Deborah Sandlin, a Raleigh lawyer representing the couple, said they might file suit against Quets to recoup their $7,000 in legal fees in North Carolina.

70 Comments

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  • sissy843 Jul 29, 7:58 p.m.

    What a legacy for poor Katie (lost a word above). And Tyler and Holly grow up in hiding. And poor John Gurley's granddaughter loses Allison because of Denise's avarice. Four children ruined. Beyond tragic. This whole case is sickening, and I'll say it again, what on earth made the Needhams start this mess in the first place. They should have helped Allison, who was ill, not kidnapped her children and left Gurley's granddaughter homeless. Terrible.

  • sissy843 Jul 29, 7:54 p.m.

    You know, the more I think about this case, the sorrier I feel for Katie Needham, Denise's daughter. Look at what her mother exposed her to by not returning Tyler and Holly to Allison when she said, "NO!" and not a single piece of paperwork was signed. Poor Katie. The teen years are hard enough without your mother chasing after someone else's children and bringing the media into your life. Not to mention the stress of the attorney bills that would take Katie's college fund. Why did the Needhams start this whole thing? They started it by not returning the children when it was the right and moral and legal thing to do. They have ruined their own daughter's life as well as the twins' lives and John Gurley's granddaughter's life. Now there is a little girl who actually needed a parent, but nope, no one but Allison Quets stepped up to care for her. And what did this bring Quets? Contact with Denise Needham who plotted and stalked and kidnapped her children. What a legacy for poor

  • sissy843 Jul 22, 4:18 p.m.

    Hi:

    I don't know anything about John Gurley, actually, just the testimony I've read in documents. I'm pretty convinced that if John spoke out, it would not be to celebrate the abhorent behavior of his cousins. His silence is pretty pathetic, don't you think?

  • aussiesrule Jul 22, 3:21 p.m.

    sissy843

    Seems you know a lot about this case especially John Gurley. John Gurley is the one person beside the Needhams and Miss Quets who know the truth about what really happened. His silence is proof that he does not really care about what is in the best interest of the twins. I pray that one day God will give him the strength and wisdon to tell the truth so that they can live a happy life knowing that they were adopted by two parents who really love them and only want what is best for them.

  • sissy843 Jul 22, 2:41 p.m.

    They would only be confused if the Needhams filled their heads with garbage about their real mother not wanting them. She clearly does, which means they were not adoptable. Period. I pity those children growing up with such selfish self-righteous people raising them.

  • FromClayton Jul 22, 10:02 a.m.

    leave those poor kids right where they are. they have been through enough and are probably very confused by now. Just let who has them, have them.

  • sissy843 Jul 21, 7:50 p.m.

    2kids1hub: how can you be sure the Needhams weren't in the building when Quets signed? None of us can assume anything like that since we weren't there. I can say that there is a lot of evidence of the Needhams pursuing Quets, including the court records I've read and according to their cousin, John Gurley.

  • sissy843 Jul 21, 6:54 p.m.

    Mom on Call: are you so certain the genetic mother is unknown? No one has ever said that. Quets is not the genetic mother, sure, but who says the genetic mother is unknown? or the genetic father?

  • sissy843 Jul 21, 6:52 p.m.

    Point of correction: The author of the story states that Quets took the children from their adoptive parents. The Needhams were merely the prospective adoptive parents at the time: Quets had full parental rights.

  • MillerB Jul 21, 5:53 p.m.

    As far as I'm concerned, she voided any and all rights when she kidnapped the children. She brought this on herself. She made the decision. Now live with it.

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