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article imageKen Thompson wants answers on his son's parental abduction Special

By KJ Mullins     Sep 19, 2010 in World
Little boys shouldn't have to pretend to be someone other than themselves but for Timothy Welsh of Amsterdam that was all he knew. Timothy was really Andrew Thompson, 6, a child who had been abducted by his mother.
For two-and-a-half years, Andrew's father Ken Thompson of Australia searched for his son. Thompson, the former deputy chief of the NSW Fire Brigade, spent much of the summer on a bike trying to get the word out on his son Andrew and the plight of other missing and abducted children.
The courts were on his side, an Interpol arrest warrant had been issued for Andrew's mother Melinda Stratton after she fled Australia during a Family Court hearing about custody of the child.
How could a mother hide her child so well? Thompson alleges that Melinda had help from powerful people and that the Australian Federal Police didn't investigate his son's case to obtain any information about where she has hidden and how she has supported his son.
Thompson wrote about the details of Andrew's flight and journey in a press release a day before the courts in Australia decide if they will issue a press band on the case.
Stephen Watkins, an Ontario father who has partnered with Thompson to get the message out on parental abduction, discussed Thompson's case with News 4 You earlier this evening. Watkins is facing his own nightmare, his two sons Christoper and Alexander have been abducted by their mother. He is still hoping for the day that they come home.
"All the articles are posted on KEN BLOG but may come down later today if the band is approved by Australian Courts," Watkins said concerned that the case may be hidden from the public's sight.
Watkins said that after speaking with Thompson earlier this evening that he wanted the story to get out.
"I spoke to Ken Thompson tonight via Skype and he wants everyone to get this news and read his blog due to the fact that Lawyers in Australia are going to attempt TODAY to put on a Publication Band on his website and all news pertaining to the abduction of Andrew Thompson. This is due in part that there seems to be some highly influential people involved, in Australia and in Europe, who knowingly helped to keep Missing Andrew Thomson hidden from authorities."
A story about Andrew's life on the run appeared in today's Australian written by journalist Peter Wilson.
Andrew's life on the run was much different from his life in Sydney's Hunters Hill where he had a bedroom full of toys. In Amsterdam Andrew and his mother shared a bedroom in a charity apartment that also housed two African women. The mother and son known as Mandy and Timothy Welsh, had first lived in a refuge run by The Sisters of Charity.
During Andrew's first year of education he had attended two schools. There will be a third when he returns to his father from the child-care facility he has been placed in.
During the past two and a half years Andrew has lived in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. He had to learn a new name. His own appearance was altered to help his mother evade the police, his hair was cut short and dyed dark brown.
Thompson wants answers from the Australian authorities about his son's case.
'I always knew Melinda must have had a lot of help,' he said by phone to Australia this morning. 'I thought she must be getting assistance from some of the various women's rights groups that have voiced support for her on Andrew's website. But in fact it has been Catholic nuns, a South African run evangelical group and others in Australia, who have close connections to Melinda. It's now time for the police to properly investigate the way she left the country and the ongoing support she has been getting to hide my son from me and the due processes of the Australian Family Court. She has never been in contact before with these sorts of people in Europe or Australia. She's a highly qualified marketing graduate with an MBA and now I discover she and my little son have been living on charity in cramped conditions, with Melinda being too scared to go far from the confines of the apartment, in case she's asked for identification.'
In Europe it is required that official identification is carried at all times Thompson says in his media release. After Ms. Stratton's arrest warrant was issued she was unable to renew her passport and only had false ID. She earned her keep by doing voluntary work instead of her own profession of marketing.
Thompson alleges that Ms. Stratton knew of his time cycling in Europe and kept up to date with his progress through the Internet.
'She would have been unaware,' Ken Thompson said,' that one of my support team members was professionally tracking every hit on the cycling blog . It will be interesting to see if the multiple increased hits from specific locations in Europe tally with locations where Melinda has been hiding. I would like the police to check this and the contents of her room at the apartment, which has remained locked since Melinda was arrested by Dutch police when she went to collect Andrew from school on the afternoon of 8 September. My son was already in safe custody by then and she had no opportunity to return to dispose of any correspondence or other information. I understand she was also receiving advice from a London based lawyer. How did she afford that? She had researched that The Netherlands could be a place that might treat her leniently and allow her to remain in Amsterdam, in spite of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child abduction having originated in The Hague.'
Thompson alleges that the charities that helped his former wife knew she was a fugitive.
'It is their responsibility [Australian police] to examine her methods of evading discovery and use that knowledge to prevent this situation happening to others,' he said.'And ensure that those who have deliberately assisted her to break the law receive appropriate penalties,' Ken Thompson said.
More about Ken thompson, Andrew thompson, Stephen watkins, Parental abduction, Found boy
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