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Child custody ruling may have led to baby's disappearance

A Florida family's custody case points to the importance of custody arrangements for families across the country, including those in Massachusetts.

After a mother and father were given joint custody of their baby, the mother allegedly took the baby out of state. The mother reportedly told the baby's father that she took the baby to Texas, killed him, and hid his body. The baby's body was never found though, and he is still listed as a missing person on a San Antonio police website.

Later, however, the mother told police that she had given her child to an Arizona couple. The mother reportedly met an Arizona woman at an airport in June 2009, six months before the baby's disappearance. The Arizona woman reportedly offered to adopt the baby. In December 2009, six months after they initially met, the mother allegedly called the Arizona woman offering her the baby.

The Arizona woman alleged she cared for the baby for nine days, though she was not involved in the baby's disappearance. She received a sentence for conspiring to interfere with a child custody ruling. The mother, meanwhile, was recently found guilty of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment.

This situation demonstrates how serious child custody decisions are. Custody rulings can greatly impact the lives of parents and their children. This mother may have taken her baby away from the father because she did not want to share custody of their child. The joint custody ruling may have led to the baby's disappearance. Ensuring child custody decisions are made in the best interests of the child is important.

Source: CNN, "Baby Gabriel's mom found guilty of imprisonment, custodial interference," Oct. 18, 2012

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