Local News

Durham Mother Fighting to Prevent Son From Visiting Colombia

Posted September 17, 2007 7:37 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2007 11:22 p.m. EDT

— 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.