Stephen Hilla of El Dorado, New Mexico, picked up his three kids from his ex-wife for a visit last week and never returned. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s department issued a warrant for his arrest soon after. Hilla was picked up several days later in a Florida state park on Key West. He was found after a concerned passer-by called police to report that he had left two dogs unattended in his truck. The ranger was able to identify Mr. Hilla as a fugitive by using the NCIC database. Hilla was arrested and the children were placed in custody. Joanna Hilla, the children’s mother says she has been in agony not knowing where her children were for several days. Hilla will be taken back to New Mexico and will reportedly be charged with child abduction and child endangerment.
While it is natural for parents to miss spending time with their children after they lose custody of them, breaking the law to do so is never the right answer. It is important for parents in Florida and other States to follow the orders of Judges and to go through the legal system to make any changes regarding support, custody and visitation. For more information, see Abducted kids, father found in Florida.