State denies responsibility for kidnapped 6-year-old

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A 6-year-old is caught in a cross-country custody battle after her mother was arrested in New mexico for parental kidnapping.

The dad, who has full custody, wants his little girl back in Boston, but state police decided the girl should stay here, with the mother’s new husband.

This father is baffled that New Mexico State Police would arrest his ex-wife for kidnapping and leave the child with someone who helped her do it.

“I don’t want my daughter to be a Casey Anthony case,” said father James Stanley. “I don’t want my daughter found dead. I’m really concerned.”

Stanley thought Miranda Bernson’s arrest a week ago meant he’d finally see his daughter again. He was awarded temporary full custody of his daughter in 2012, pending a final hearing. The mother was ordered to undergo mental counseling sessions.

According to an investigator at Massachusett’s DCF – their CYFD equivalent – that’s when Miranda Bernson and her now-husband Steven Drew took the girl and fled.

Massachusetts Police issued an arrest warrant for the mother for parental kidnapping and New Mexico State Police arrested her at a home in the Albuquerque Heights last Monday.

“The first thing I asked was, ‘Where’s my daughter? Is she okay? When is she coming home?’ ” he said. “I was told she was in state custody at first, then I was told later on that she was left in Steven’s custody. They left my child in the hands of the other alleged kidnapper in the process.”

Both NMSP and CYFD say they determined the girl was safe in her Albuquerque home with Drew.

But neither agency would tell KRQE News 13 if they’ve actually checked to see if the new husband has any custody rights – or checked his criminal background.

Massachusetts court orders show that Drew has no custody, but police records show he has convictions that include breaking and entering and larceny, and charges including a false bomb threat.

“This is a dangerous person,” Stanley said about Drew.

Stanley faxed his custody papers to NMSP – showing the judge’s order that he has full custody and that police were to assist in his daughter’s return.

“I’ve asked them to take action, they’ve refused to action,” he said.

The father says he’s contacted everyone from CYFD, to APD, to state police but isn’t getting any help or direction on what steps to take.

All three agencies told KRQE News 13 this is an out-of-state “child custody dispute” that isn’t their responsibility.

Stanley says he’s spent his money on fighting a long divorce and custody battle, and can’t afford another attorney to handle this situation.

He’s hoping this story will shed light on the situation – and that the state will take her out of Drew’s custody and get her back home.

For now, he’s afraid his daughter is going to vanish again.

“My hope is just getting my daughter back home, where she has the family and support and the proper counseling to get her through this,” he said.

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