EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

July 6, 2013

Mass. mom: Custody dispute stranded me

BOSTON (AP) — Police in Brazil have seized passports belonging to a woman and her 6-year-old daughter, stranding them in South America for about a month amid an international custody dispute with the child's father.

Thirty-three-year-old Shauna Hadden and her daughter, Ava Machado, have been in Brazil since late May, when they began a trip Hadden said was intended to connect the girl with the father she hadn't seen in more than three years.

Hadden's mother, Linda, said Friday the pair had already arrived in Rio de Janiero on her way to visit Ava's father, 32-year-old Donizete Machado, when her daughter received a phone call from a mutual friend warning her that Machado planned to keep the girl.

Instead of taking a flight to southern Brazil to meet Machado, Shauna Hadden and her daughter flew north to stay with friends in the northeastern city of Fortaleza, Linda Hadden said.

Then federal police seized Shauna Hadden's passport along with her daughter's in early June.

On Friday, a lawyer for Machado confirmed the passports were confiscated following a request by the girl's father but denied he wants custody of the girl, whom Hadden has had full custody of since the couple split in 2009.

Attorney Isabel Feijo said Machado sought seizure of their passports because Hadden skipped his scheduled meeting with Ava.

"He wants her to visit him and his family, and if the mother agrees to that, the request to seize the passport will immediately be withdrawn, we'll drop the case," Feijo said Friday.

Feijo said Hadden — using tickets purchased by her ex-husband — arrived in Rio de Janeiro on May 21 and was supposed to meet Machado in the city of Florianopolis before traveling together to the town of Criciuma, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) to the southeast.

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