JOHN COTTON JR. – RECOVERED AND HOME WITH DAD!

JOHN COTTON JR.

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John has been recovered!  Thank you to all of those who followed his case and helped to bring him home safely.

WELCOME HOME JOHN!

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

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Reading John Jr. and John Sr.’s story touched my heart 4 years ago in a way I can’t explain.  John has remained on my mind every day, just waiting for him to come home.

The morning I woke up to the news that John and his Dad had been reunited, I started crying and couldn’t stop – it still is making me tear up – I could not be happier.  Please read their story, there is much we can learn from the Cotton’s to help change the way we help recover children who have been victims of an international parental abduction.

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

Four years after John Cotton Sr. began the battle to bring his son home, he is finally holding his son again.  Four years ago, John Cotton Jr. was abducted by his mother, Silvia Chilombo Mulenga, and taken to Zambia.  John Sr. was thrust into a nightmare that at times looked to have no end, but he never stopped fighting, he never gave up.

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

The fight was long, and it was difficult, Zambia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention making it next to impossible to have John Jr. returned from Zambia.  The truth is, in Zambia child abduction is not even a crime.  However, John Sr. and the investigators involved were not deterred.  John Sr. was able to keep in touch with his son through Skype, and had even visited him in Zambia on one occasion, but he was still unable to bring John Jr. home.

In July of this year, Detective Greg Faessel learned that John Jr. had travelled with his maternal grandmother from Zambia to visit his uncle, European soccer star Jacob Mulenga, in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands ARE signatory’s to the Hague Convention.  With a little help from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Cypress Police Department, the FBI and US Departments of Justice and State, John Sr. was able to convince the Dutch authorities to put a hold on John Jr.’s passport.  John Sr. headed to the Netherlands, expecting to bring his son home right away.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

By the time John Sr. had landed in Amsterdam, Mulenga’s family had hired attorneys who alleged that John Sr. was an unfit and abusive father.  John Sr. sat through 3 months of court hearings, until the day came when Orange County authorities sent certified copies of John Sr.’s parental rights court documents to a judge in the Netherlands, and Dutch authorities recognized his court-sanctioned rights to full custody of John Jr.  John Sr.’s hopes and dreams were answered, he was going to be bringing John Jr. home.  Only days later, John Jr. was home in Florida with his Dad, where he should be.  “I am elated, I knew this day would come.  I started dreaming that my son would be here with me in 2011, and now he is.  I am so happy this is finally over.” said John Sr.  He spoke of plans to enroll John Jr. in school and youth soccer.

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Reunited

While there will be an adjustment period as John Jr. settles in and begins living life in the United States again, John Sr. will be there every step of the way to see him through.  While John Jr. would like to be in Zambia with his mother at the moment, he is bonding well with John Sr. as the two get reacquainted.  The NCMEC will continue to support the Cotton’s through the reunification process, providing them with all the help they will need to work through the situation in a healthy and positive manner.

Mulenga has an arrest warrant on file for her on one charge of felony child abduction.  If she is ever located and convicted, the maximum sentence she will face is 3 years in state prison.  3 YEARS.  For 4 years John Sr. searched, fought, cried, hoped and endured horrific heartache while his son was not with him.  The thousands of dollars he spent, and thousands of hours he dedicated to find John Jr. is worth MUCH more than a 3 year sentence.  This is appalling, and folks, we need to start demanding change.  We need to start sentencing these abductors as they should be sentenced, we need to hold them accountable.  Mulenga is believed to be residing in Zambia.

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Before John Jr.'s Abduction

John Cotton Jr. and Sr. Before John Jr.’s Abduction

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Lights For John Cotton Jr.

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John Cotton Jr.

John Cotton Jr.

John Cotton Jr.

Date of Birth: March 26, 2005

Black Male

Height: 4’0”     Weight: 45 lbs

Hair: Black     Eyes: Brown

Missing: December 4, 2009     From: Placentia, CA

Distinguishing Features: Birthmark on his abdomen.

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John Cotton Jr.

John Cotton Jr.

John was abducted by his mother, Silvia Mulenga, on December 5, 2009.  Silvia called John’s father to say they were in Zambia and he would never see John again.  A felony warrant was issued for Sylvia on December 17, 2009.  Silvia was divorced from John’s father and had custody of the child, but his father had visitation.  By leaving suddenly and without notice, she deprived his father of visitation rights and lost custody automatically as a result.  She and John are still believed to be in Zambia

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Silvia Mulenga

Silvia Mulenga

Silvia Mulenga

Date of Birth: June 27, 1979

Black Female

Height: 5’9”     Weight: 135 lbs

Hair: Black     Eyes: Brown

Distinguishing Features: Tattoo on her lower back.

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If you have any information regarding the disappearance of John Cotton Jr., please immediately contact the Orange County District Attorney’s Office at:

1-714-647-7000

OR

The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at:

1-800-843-5678

USMCC000481LTWH

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 09

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~ by LTWH on December 24, 2011.

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