FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2008
HARLINGEN, Texas – A local mother has returned to Harlingen after traveling to Argentina to recover her two sons more than two years after they were taken there by their father.
Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the largest provider of legal aid in Texas, Ana Maria Cegledi has struggled to recover her two sons, Ladislao Uriel and Jonas Kevin, since April 2006. Cegledi has been living in Harlingen with her four children since 2001. Her husband, Daniel, took their two oldest sons to Argentina in an attempt to force Cegledi to reconcile and relocate after she told him that she wanted a divorce.
“He tried to use the children to keep her in the relationship and force her to move,” said TRLA attorney Pamela Brown. “For almost two years, the only contact she had with her boys was a few random telephone calls.”
Brown leads TRLA’s Bi-National Project on Family Violence, a project that helps family violence survivors in desperate situations. In its five years of operation the Bi-National Project has helped more than 370 domestic violence survivors prevent the abduction of their children or fight to secure their safe return.
To help Cegledi get her children back, TRLA filed an Application for Return under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international treaty designed to secure the return of children taken across national borders. TRLA also helped Cegledi get an attorney in Argentina to assist in navigating the Argentine legal system while she remained in Harlingen. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided financial help to bring the two boys home once a judge ordered that they be returned to Cegledi.
Added Brown, “It may have taken two years, but these children are finally back with their mother and in Texas where they belong.”
Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.