ALEXANDER NIKOLAS AND CHRISTOPHER LUKAS WATKINS – FAMILY ABDUCTION March 6, 2009 – CMCC000001LTWH – UPDATED 04.22.2013
ALEXANDER NIKOLAS AND CHRISTOPHER LUKAS WATKINS
Alexander Nikolas Watkins
Date of Birth: June 7, 2001
Height: 4’1” Weight: 68 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Blue
Missing: March 6, 2009 From: Toronto, Ontario
Distinguishing Features: He has a scar on the left side of his neck. He has been diagnosed with high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder and has behavior and social skills issues, along with possible anger management issues. He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. He speaks English and Polish, having dual citizenship in Canada and Poland.
Christopher Lukas Watkins
Date of Birth: April 1, 2004
Height: 3’3” Weight: 40 lbs
Hair: Blonde Eyes: Hazel
Missing: March 6, 2009 From: Toronto, Ontario
Distinguishing Features: He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. He speaks English and Polish, having dual citizenship in Canada and Poland.
Alias Name: Krzysztof OR Krzys
Alexander and Christopher were abducted by their non-custodial mother, Edyta Ustaszewski Watkins. She picked the boys up on March 6, 2009, along with her father, Tadeusz Ustaszewski, for a weekend visitation. Tadeusz then drove Edyta and the boys to New York where they boarded a flight to Germany on March 8th. Tadeusz returned to Canada the same day. Edyta, Alexander and Christopher were never heard from or seen for 2 long agonizing years.
Alexander and Christopher’s parents were separated in 2004 and shared custody of the boys until they were removed from Edyta’s care by order of the family courts and by the Catholic Children’s Aid Society on November 21, 2007, due to physical and mental abuse. The boys were placed with their father, Stephen Watkins, who was then granted sole custody by the courts after a long trial on January 26, 2009. In the final court order, Edyta was to have access to the boys every second weekend. 6 weeks later Alexander and Christopher were abducted.
Edyta had been ordered to turn over the boys’ Canadian passports by the courts multiple times, but never did surrender them. Edyta’s Canadian passport was confirmed to have been cancelled forty-two days prior to the boys’ abduction due to Provincial Enforcement measures. U.S. Homeland Security confirmed that all three travelled on Canadian Passports, clearly showing a break down in the way children’s passports are handled, and the large role they played in aiding this abduction. An Interpol Red Notice has been issued by the Canadian Government seeking the arrest and extradition of Edyta. The RCMP has placed Edyta on the RCMP’s Canada’s Most Wanted List. They have also released a statement saying that this is one of the five worst international abduction cases since 2009. It is the first known Canadian documented case of a concerned parent involving a missing child’s organization before the abduction ever took place. Stephen Watkins had contacted Child Find Ontario in September of 2008, when he began seeing signs that his ex-wife was going to abduct his sons. Terry Smith, case director of Child Find Ontario has been assisting in the search for Alexander and Christopher. I think this case has spotlighted a MAJOR problem with how parents in Stephen’s position are able to seek help before the abduction. The father saw the signs and was already concerned for his children, yet is seems that there is not much for law enforcement to do until an abduction actually takes place. This is something we need to focus on and develop our assistance offered to parents, such as Stephen, before more children are abducted. If we can thwart an abduction before it occurs, every person involved with benefit tremendously, especially those in positions such as Stephen, Alexander and Christopher Watkins. Imagine if the terror and pain that so many have experienced, was prevented by being proactive. Imagine Stephen and his sons, not having to live every day for over three years in agonizing pain.
As for Tadeusz Ustaszewski, his version of events claim that the trip to Niagara Falls was a spontaneous to help the boys ‘cheer up’, claiming that Stephen Watkins had allegedly squeezed Alexander’s throat. When they crossed the border, he claimed that one of the boys needed to use the bathroom, so they pulled into a Tim Hortons. By ‘quite the coincidence’ a few of Edyta’s friends were at that Tim Hortons. After talking with her ‘friends’, Edyta claimed she was going to stay for four days with the boys. At this time Ustaszweski claimed that he headed home, and believed he would see his daughter and grandsons in a few days. Thankfully a judge didn’t buy his story, ruling that this scenario “could not be truthful”. He noted that Edyta had purchased plane tickets to Germany several days before they left Canada, using a joint VISA account that belonged to her and her father. Judge Joseph Kenkel also ruled that they allegations of abuse against Stephen Watkins were not credible. He was charged with aiding and abetting in a child abduction, and later found guilty on the charges. He was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest and was ordered to not have any contact with his daughter or grandsons. The judge also commented that had in not been for Ustaszewski failing health, he would have considered sentencing him to do jail time. This is 1 of a selected few Canadian case were someone has been convicted in relation to a child abduction, without being the main offender. There is still so much to do, however, we are slowly breaking the problem down. The judge presiding over the conviction of Ustaszewski went on to state that “Whatever sentence is imposed in this case, will be inadequate in the sense that I have no power to order the one thing that would matter most, the return of the children.” He went on to further state “Any sense of fairness or justice in the sentencing process is necessarily incomplete where the offence results in a victory for the offender and a terrible loss for the victim with no hope of remedy. The impact on all of the victims of this offense has been serious and irreparable” After the sentencing, Stephen Watkins called the sentence “bittersweet”. “It’s not bringing my sons home.” he stated.
Following the verdict, Edyta released a statement in Warsaw where the children are currently living with her. “It shouldn’t have happened this way. My father is 77, he doesn’t deserve what he’s getting.” She went on to say “He didn’t do anything wrong. Yes, he did drive across the border, but he did not know why he drove me across the border. He did not know my intentions; he was unaware of them … he’s on heart medication , blood pressure medication, this is the last thing the man needs.”
When they boys and Stephen saw each other for the first time after their abduction, they called Stephen by his first name. It is clearly obvious that this is a case that has signs of parental alienation. Stephen always states that he believes that Canadian politicians are not taking his case seriously. To be honest, I can see how he feels this way. Let’s face it, this man saw the warning signs that his wife was going to abduct his children. So he does what any parent would do and sought help, help which didn’t make any difference in the end. Then once his children are abducted he waits in agonizing horror not knowing where his boys are. Then his boys are located, and he believes that his sons will be returned home to him. That didn’t work out that way either. Instead he has to go through court after court after court, sending appeals, writing affidavits, requesting court orders and asking officials to honor the custody agreement in Canada and allow Alexander and Christopher to return to Stephen. Poland has not co-operated with search and have actually done the opposite, ordering that the boys remain in Poland. Watkins is now waiting to determine whether his appeals process is exhausted in Poland before he takes his case to the European Union court. Poland is not a signatory to the Hague Convention and doesn’t have an abducted child extradition treaty with Canada. The treaties in which they do have with Canada are not being enforced, resulting in four major treaties being broken between Poland and Canada. Despite all of these things happening, no one has really stood up and advocated for Stephen, Alexander and Christopher.
This case has no shortages of what the hell moments. After Edyta had taken the children to Poland, Polish Courts had her parental rights limited after the Polish school were the boys were enrolled, brought a motion to the Polish Courts themselves citing child protection concerns against the mother. A Polish Court Appointed Guardian has been assigned to the boys, replicating the exact situation that played out in Canada, which resulted in Stephen gaining full custody of his sons. To make matters worse, ALL of this was done when Canadian officials still were not even told where the boys were located. Polish Courts agree that an International Kidnapping Crime has been committed and that Stephen in fact did, and maintains to, have sole custody of the children prior to the International Abduction taking place. Despite ALL of this, the Polish Courts still refuse to order the children returned to Stephen in Canada. Another thing Poland Courts have refused to do is to take any action to Canada’s issuance of an INTEROL ‘Red Notice” for the arrest of the abducting mother, Edyta.
For Stephen Watkins everyday is a nightmare. He recalls the last time he ever saw his sons, “When I was saying goodbye, Alexander came over and hugged me and said “I love you Dad’.” These are the words that Stephen Watkins will hold onto in his heart every day until his sons are brought back home.
While it is now known where the boys are residing, they are still considered at risk due to their mother’s history of abusing them. Until this case is closed, and two beautiful young boys are returned to their father, we will continue to Light Their Way Home. We will advocate for Stephen and his sons, and we will make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear. We will not accept our government sitting by, and not taking any action to ensure Canadian children are protected under Canadian laws, no matter where they may be.
In light of Alexander and Christopher’s abduction, Stephen Watkins formed an advocacy group for left behind parents called iCHAPEAU. Please click the link below to check out the resources and aid they offer left behind parents.
Date of Birth: November 17, 1973
Height: 5’8” Weight: 128 lbs
Hair: Light Brown Eyes: Blue
Distinguishing Features: She has a tattoo on her lower back, and a tattoo of a scorpion on her front waist. She also has dual citizenship in Canada and Poland, and speaks English, Polish, German and French.
Alias First Name: Edith OR Alexandra
Alias Last Name: Ustaszewski OR Ustaszewsk
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Alexander Nikolas and Christopher Lukas, please immediately contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: