A British father is seeking the return of his daughter who taken to the United States by her mother.
The eight year-old girl, identified as Jessica Monkman, was allegedly taken by her mother Natalie Lewis to live in Cincinnati, Ohio back in March.
Ms Lewis and Nathan Lawrence, the girl’s father, had previously been in a relationship for ten years before separating in 2010.
Prior to leaving the UK, Ms Lewis married an American man. Mr Lawrence feared that she would relocate to the US and take Jessica with her, so a local court in Birmingham ordered that Jessica could not be taken out of the country without court permission.
Mr Lawrence did not find out about Jessica’s disappearance until he was contacted by her school about her absence. He said he was “heartbroken” when he was told and now feels “like life has just paused”.
The lawyer representing Mr Lawrence before the High Court said that police had located Jessica and Ms Lewis in Ohio. A ‘safe and well’ check was carried out to ensure Jessica was unharmed, but no action has been taken subsequently.
Sitting at the Family Division of the High Court in London, Mr Justice Newton allowed the identities of both parents and the girl to be revealed by the media. This unusual step was taken in the hope that it would encourage the mother to return to the UK.
Earlier this year, a mother who feared her daughter would be taken to the US successfully applied to the High Court to have the father’s passport seized.
Photo of Cincinnati, Ohio by Joseph via Flickr