Chenoweth Law Group

Oregon mother accuses stepmother of kidnapping son in civil suit

A mother and stepmother are at odds in a civil suit that may be delayed. At the center of the civil litigation is the disappearance of the women's son and stepson. The boy was 7 years old when he disappeared after a science fair during June 2010. According to allegations made by the mother in the suit, the stepmother knows where the boy is and was involved in his kidnapping.

Currently, there is a criminal investigation into the child's disappearance. The stepmother wants to see the suit delayed while the criminal investigation continues, but authorities have not turned up any new evidence in some time. According to a filing made by the mother's attorney, the case is becoming cold and if the delay is granted, it could potentially compromise the search for the missing child.

The delay was requested last month and would put a stay on the civil suit for two years.

The mother's attorney noted that the stepmother has not been indicted in the criminal case and added that no precedent has been set in the state of Oregon regarding a delay of a civil case while there is an ongoing criminal case.

The mother and her attorney are seeking $10 million. They also want the stepmother to take the mother to her son, despite no evidence leading to the woman being indicted in the criminal investigation. The stepmother has been focused on by authorities for some time, but has not been officially named as a suspect.

The stepmother's attorney said that the civil suit is seeking facts that could see her prosecuted in the criminal case.

Though the situation may seem confusing, the mother does have a reason for filing her civil suit: civil allegations do not require as high of a standard of proof as is necessary to see an individual convicted.

Source: The Register-Guard, "Missing Portland boy's mother fights delay," Nigel Duara, Aug. 3, 2012

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