Special Report: We are not missing! - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Special Report: We are not missing!

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A former Germantown woman, accused of kidnapping her own children, has been on the National Missing Persons registry for years.  But Luanne Uttley says she's got nothing to hide.

"I've been in the same house for eight years," she said in a recent interview via Skype. "The same telephone number - everything - same email address. We're not missing."

Uttley lives in the United Kingdom.  After divorcing her husband in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2000, Uttley was awarded full custody of her son Jacob and daughter Halle.  Months later, she remarried and relocated to England.

"I went through Clarke County court and the judge gave me permission to move over here," she said.

So why is Uttley wanted in the United States for abducting her own kids?  That was question Action News 5 asked their father, Chris Bobo, who still lives in Arkadelphia.

"I'm trying to get my kids back to the United States where they belong," he said.

After the divorce, Bobo was granted three weeks visitation per year with his children.  It worked for a few years, but then things got ugly.  There were legal battles over child support, disagreements over visitation, accusations of child abuse that were considered hearsay by the courts, and a battle for custody.
          
When the court-ordered visits to Arkadelphia stopped, Chris Bobo reported his son and daughter missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

"I would love to see my kids," he said.

Soon, their faces began popping on missing persons posters and websites around the globe, to Uttley's dismay.

"He's chosen to put our pictures on the internet and to say that they've been abducted," Uttley said. "That they've been abducted by me."

"Them being missing, no they're not missing. Abducted? Yes. Kidnapped, legally yes," Bobo said.

Kidnapped, he said, because in 2006, without their mother present in court, a Clark County judge awarded him full custody of his children.  But laws in the U. K. protect Uttley from extradition to the United States.

"She won't come back here, and I don't blame her, because she'll go to jail," Bobo said.

In order to tell her side of the story, Luanne Uttley created a website called WeAreNotMissing.com.

"My ex-husband knows exactly where we are, and he knows exactly how to get these issues solved that he has," she said.

Uttley says Bobo must fight the custody battle on her turf. 

"What Miss Uttley is wanting to do is she's wanting to get me into the UK courts where she can win," Bobo said. "She doesn't want to come to the United States courts where she's already lost."

While their parents remain deadlocked, the children are growing up and apart from their father.  During our interview, Action News 5 allowed Chris Bobo see his son for the first time in four years.  But the message from his son was bittersweet.  

"I don't want to see him," Jacob said. "I don't want just don't want to speak to him because all he's doing is lie, lie, lie and lie."

"Wow," Bobo reacted.

Jacob and Halle Bobo are unable to visit other family in the states because their passports have expired. Chris Bobo says the FBI has advised him not to sign their renewal applications for fear his wife will take them elsewhere outside the country.

MORE:

  • To learn more about the international laws in this case, click here.
  • To check out Luanne Uttley's website, click here.

 


 

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