UPDATE: Friday, 9:05 p.m., June 18, 2010: With the permission of the father, Marshall Harris of Dallas, who previously was not named below, I’m posting the Facebook profile photo for Norma Arzola of Dallas, TX born Jan. 12, 1986 and his daughter, Alyssa Marie Harris born June 9, 2007. Alyssa has just turned three years old and according to Mr. Harris, he is entitled to full custody of his daughter, who he has not seen since Memorial Day Weekend. If you know the whereabouts of either Ms. Arzola or Alyssa, please immediately dial 911 and report it to either the Dallas Police Department or the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Mr. Harris, he has not heard from Ms. Arzola since the night Alyssa was taken. An Amber Alert for this child has not been issued, per Mr. Harris, because law enforcement has told him that they will not issue one when a biological parent has taken a child.
This Father’s Day I have a fellow dad friend who is struggling in a situation far worse than anything I’ve encountered before: Allegedly, his estranged girl friend picked up the daughter he’s been granted full custody of Memorial Day Weekend, has changed her phone numbers, moved, etc. and is only supposed to have the child at his discretion or under supervised possession, and hasn’t brought her back.
At this writing, my friend does not know where his daughter is. It’s been more than half a month of hell now because to make matters worse, he’s been attempting to get help through the Dallas Police Department and from what we can tell, they have yet to even issue an arrest warrant.
My friend went back into court earlier this week and now has a writ of attachment, which essentially is an order to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to go search for this man’s child and return her. The problem is: He doesn’t know where his daughter is.
Those of us connected to this case in many ways feel like a double standard is in play here. Had this been a man who’d run off with the kid, who had disappeared with a child and there were the same papers in place from the court, well, all Hell’s fury would have been released to find the baby and to put the man behind bars. But since it’s a dad, and you know, we dads by stereotyping typically don’t find ourselves in a situation like this, it just doesn’t seem to work the same.
Rather than acting on the original decree and the fact that the baby allegedly is still in the custody of the non-custodial parent, Alyssa was allegedly picked up from one of the father’s relatives without the full consent of the father. My friend allegedly was told by a DPD detective that he had to go back to court to get the writ of attachment and that they couldn’t do anything until they had those. WHAT?
Of course, I don’t know why my friend has been dealing with the police department instead of the sheriff’s department. That’s a whole n’other thing. To even find out for him where he needed to take the writ of attachment so that the SO would begin searching for the woman and the baby, I had to make five phone calls to the Dallas County SO. I started with the warrant’s office. There isn’t a county warrant out for the woman. I had to call them twice to find that out because the people who answered the phone, when I asked her about where to take the writ, she immediately transferred me to a number that’s mailbox was full and it terminated the call.
When I called back, I got to ask her if a warrant had been issued for the woman. Nothing from the county. I asked if she could check on DPD’s warrants. Well, they don’t talk to each other, so she said she couldn’t look it up.
I then got bounced around to four other phone numbers; no one could tell me where to take the papers to, and all they wanted to do was be glad they could forward the call. Finally, I found Ms. Cox. She was tough sounding to begin with, then when I started asking her for her name, how to call her back, she really got nice. I had to find out from my friend what zip code he lives in. When I called back Ms. Cox, she promptly told me and I wished her a good weekend. I was happy to have talked with her.
Nonetheless, my friend right now is feeling very little love from the system that’s supposed to protect all of us. Family law is just nutty, as you can attest to from reading very deep into my previous posts. We all think that the law is there to help us, but it seems more and more and more that it more works to the benefit of those who choose to abuse the system rather than those who would follow it.
I also have some positive news to report. This afternoon Veronica and I spent about 40 minutes talking to a Dallas area representative in the Legislature. He’s looking into what can be done in situations like Vero’s when a spouse has been issued a protective order and repeatedly violates it without assistance from a local police department. There’s more to come from this and I’m also excited that Vero is going to be doing some public speaking at the end of this month and talking to others about what happened in her case, and what can be done to protect others who are victims of domestic abuse.
So a nightmare still on going on the one hand, and a survivor of a nightmare beginning her walk to help maybe save the lives of others.
Please pray for my one friend who is still in the storm, and pray for Vero as she still continues her recovery. They’re both in pretty lonely places right now and time and God’s hands are the things that will help them the most.
Maybe there is more to this that keeps the hands of the police tied. I don’t know. From what I’ve been able to gauge from my friend, getting much information from DPD hasn’t been something forthcoming. Someone please help.