High Wind Watch issued December 21 at 1:55PM PST expiring December 23 at 2:00PM PST in effect for: Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego
The only way Trevor Richardson can see or hear his son Andrew is by watching videos of the boy.One video shows a laughing toddler trying to run down a hill."This is right about before he was taken," Richardson explained.The videos show a happier time, before Andrew was kidnapped by Mariana Saldivar, Richardson's ex-wife and the boy's mother.Richardson has only seen his son a total of five hours in the last three years, and that was during two visits that were two years apart.When the Richardson and Saldivar divorced, Andrew was just over one year old. Both parents were supposed to share custody equally."So I had him half the week, my ex-wife had him the other half," Richardson said.But in August 2007, when Richardson went to pick up his then-19-month-old son, he said Saldivar and the boy had disappeared."They fled on a plane. Her mother came up, they had this all planned out, probably weeks in advance," he said.They fled to Saldivar's hometown of Queretaro, Mexico, which is north of Mexico City.At first Richardson didn't panic."I remember thinking that he'll be back in a week. The police are going to get involved, the FBI will get involved, our country will get involved, this will be sorted out," he said.Weeks turned into months, which turned into years, partly because of what Saldivar did when she first landed in Mexico, according to Richardson."She went right to the police station, made up all these accusations that I tried to kill her, that I tried to kill my son," Richardson said.U.S. authorities dismissed those allegations, and court documents said, "There was no abuse."Saldivar was charged with two felonies for unlawfully taking Andrew, but that was in the U.S. In Mexico, it was Richardson who faced an uphill battle.He had to plead for court-supervised visitation, one hour with Andrew within months of the child being taken. It would take two more years to get a second visit, which happened this past March.Legal pleadings to get his son back have languished in Mexican courts.According to a 2009 U.S. State Department report, Mexico has the most cases of parental abductions from the U.S. There were 316 cases in 2008, and of those, 92 children were returned.In Andrew's case, Richardson said Mexico is violating international law.The more time that passes, the more damage is done."It's tough, because taking Andrew away form his mother would be very difficult for him, but I'm trying to make the best decision in the best interests of Andrew, and I know that if Andrew is returned that I am not going to do to my ex-wife what she has done to me," he explained.The boy, taken as a toddler is now four years old. During the last visit, he still recognized Richardson."He called me 'papi' and was grabbing my hand, dragging me around the playground," he said.Richardson has filed another appeal in the Mexican courts. He's also asking Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sen. Diane Feinstein, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene.