24 Aug 2011

The Author

Author of the award-winning book Finding Fernanda. Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Redux Pictures photographer. Read more here.


8/24/11: New American Media on “Karen Abigail” case

New American Media has published a story that is partially based on interviews with Loyda Rodríguez, mother of the abducted child Anyelí, and her brother. It’s called “Amid Allegations of Human Trafficking, Guatemala to Review Adoptions.” I’ve excerpted at length, because there’s new reporting here that hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere:

“All it took was a moment. Loyda Rodriguez recalls carrying her groceries into her Guatemala City apartment before turning around to find her two-year-old daughter Anyeli gone from the patio.

“I said, ‘Where is she?’ I was very confused – why did they take my nena?” said Rodriguez of that afternoon in November 2006. As it turns out, her “nena” (Spanish slang for “baby girl”) was on a long journey to Liberty, Missouri, to be adopted by Jennifer and Timothy J. Monahan…

Immediately after Anyeli was stolen in 2006, Rodriguez said she called the police and asked neighbors if they’d seen her daughter, and the next morning she went out at dawn to search, to no avail. Her husband contacted the government, which led nowhere, so they decided to keep the search up on their own…

“I kept looking, putting out flyers, but nothing, nothing from the authorities,” she said. At a friend’s suggestion, she went to orphanages, to see if any had taken in her child. “But they said I couldn’t enter without a judge’s order, for the security of the kids there.”

…The Public Ministry in 2009 then began an investigation of the case, naming nine culprits including members of the Guatemalan national military (PNG) and a judge who helped change Anyeli’s identity to “Karen Abigail.” But after the discoveries, Rodriguez said she began receiving death threats.

“Many cars came to my house and asked if it was where I lived, and they took my sister but fortunately she escaped,” recalled Rodriguez. They even came to Fundacion Sobrevivientes seeking information on Rodriguez’s whereabouts. Terrified, she took her children out of school and fled Guatemala City, moving to a small town six hours away.

Rodriguez’s brother said the delay in finding Anyeli was due to government negligence.

“They [the government] didn’t listen for so long,” he said. “But yes, now we have justice–we’ll have full justice when all the guilty are in jail, so my sister can be safe… I don’t know how she’s been so brave.” Eight out of nine of the suspects have now been captured, and are in prison awaiting trials.

Though Rodriguez said she still fears people associated with her attackers–she wouldn’t walk three blocks outside to the market in Guatemala City– she still insists that her daughter should return home…”

Read the full story here: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/08/amid-allegations-of-human-trafficking-guatemala-to-review-adoptions.php

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