August 19, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Another day, another abducted child. This one is now back safely in her father’s care, for which we can all be thankful. But it didn’t need to be this way. The willingness of law enforcement personnel and courts to give mothers a pass for whatever abusive behavior they might want to mete out made this case far worse than it ever needed to be. Read about it here (Fox News 10, 8/2/13).
An Alabama couple, Aric Vertrees and Cynthia Dueitt (whose name is now Rupe) had a child, Rebecca, five years ago. At some point, they separated and a Mobile family court judge gave primary custody to Rebecca’s father. That apparently didn’t sit well with Rupe, who took the law into her own hands. She absconded with Rebecca and stayed in hiding for two years during which the child had no contact with her father or any of his relatives.
Vertrees’ attorney Joseph Dennis said Rupe has taken the child before. Last time, he said it was for more than two years.
"Last time it was kind of just me and my attorney looking for her and the private investigators.
So, despite the fact that Rupe violated criminal law by interfering with Vertrees’ custody and by kidnapping the child, no one in the law enforcement community lifted a finger to (a) help get the child back to her custodial parent or (b) enforce the law. That of course assisted Rupe in keeping Rebecca away from her father and extended family for as long as she did.
Then, when she was finally apprehended and returned to Alabama, apparently nothing was done to her for her multiple legal violations. She wasn’t jailed, she wasn’t charged, she wasn’t prosecuted. It seems as though the family court probably restricted her visitation rights, because the next time she kidnapped Rebecca, she needed the help of her mother and others, who apparently were only too glad to provide it.
Rupe fled to Pennsylvania with the girl and only then did law enforcement officers decide to wake up and do their jobs.
But this time they had all the sheriff's, cops, U.S marshals involved,” said Vertrees.
Multiple agencies, including the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and U.S Marshals, began a search for the child and found her with her mother, Cynthia Rupe, in Pennsylvania June 31.
“We were concerned when we knew she was traveling up north, we were concerned that there may be attempts or efforts to take the child out of the country and we knew we had to act quickly,” said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
And this time Rupe was only able to stay out of sight for two months. She’s been arrested and jailed under $300,000 bond. It seems the judge figured out she’s a flight risk. Who’d have guessed?
In fact, Rupe isn’t the only one in on the abduction. It seems her husband William Rupe and her mother Irene Dueitt were part of the conspiracy as well. They too are in jail facing criminal charges.
To her credit, Rupe’s first attorney, Rachel Powell, fired her as a client the first time Rupe kidnapped the girl.
Powell said she withdrew from Rupe's case when authorities say the child's mother left the state and cut all communication.
"When we can't get in touch with our clients or they continue to evade the law, I felt I could not ethically represent her,” said Powell.
On the down side, Powell claims she has no idea of why Rupe doesn’t have custody of the girl. Well, I don’t know either, but my intuition tells me it has something to do with Rupe’s being an unstable, possibly narcissistic person. I can’t guess why the family court judge originally placed Rebecca in the care of her father. After all, that’s far from the norm. Mothers almost invariably get primary custody, so there’s some reason, and probably a pretty glaring one, for paternal custody in this case.
What we do know is Rupe’s behavior since then. She’s kept the girl away from her father for about half her life and violated laws and court orders to do so.
Here’s what we also know: child abduction is child abuse. That’s what mental health professionals have testified to before the United Nations and their studies back them up. The facts of parental child abduction make clear just why it’s abusive. A parent who takes a child deprives the child of everything that’s familiar to him/her. In the blink of an eye, friends, extended family, neighbors, schools, churches and everything that’s familiar to the child are gone. The other parent is gone. What replace them are strange people in strange places. And the need for secrecy means the abducting parent and child continually move from place to place. So there’s not even the hint of stability in the child’s life.
The child learns to never form friendships, never grow attached to a place, a school. That in turn means that the child looks to the abducting parent for everything. He/she becomes the sole source of human contact, love, friendship, discipline, fun, education. In short everything a child’s life consists of comes from a single source, the abducting parent.
And that tells a lot about the personality of a parent who abducts a child. He/she is a parent who so needs to be the source of all things to the child, the sole focus of the child’s attention that he/she is willing to violate criminal law to accomplish that end. That’s why I speculate that a close look at Cynthia Rupe may reveal a narcissist or person with borderline personality. Put simply, she looks like a person who can see no one’s needs but her own.
If that’s true, it’s no wonder the judge gave custody to Vertrees. My guess is that most of the time, when fathers get custody, it’s because the default parent, Mom, is so dysfunctional as a parent that the judge’s hand is forced. To get custody, fathers have to be twice as good and one way to prove that is for the mother to be distinctly worse than most.
When last we saw Rupe, she was weeping in court and promising to never, never do it again. The judge didn’t buy it. He’s keeping her in jail on $300,000 bond. It looks like law enforcement authorities have finally waked up to the reality of Cynthia Rupe.
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