Father, kidnapped son win $2.8M verdict

Oct 4, 2013 by

Manuel Ramirez and his son, Enrique. The boy was released to his mother’s boyfriend during school on Dec. 6, 2010, then taken to Mexico unlawfully to live with his mother, who’d been deported. The boy remains in Mexico.

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego federal jury awarded a North County father more than $2 million this week, holding the Escondido Union School District responsible for allowing his young son to be released from school and kidnapped to Mexico.

It’s been three years since Manuel Ramirez, a handyman from Bonsall, last saw his 9-year-old son, Enrique. He dropped the boy off at Farr Elementary School on Dec. 6, 2010. When he returned to pick him up after school, all he found was his son’s backpack left behind in a classroom.

The boy, a U.S. citizen, is believed to be living in central Mexico with his mother, who arranged the boy’s clandestine trip after she was deported a month earlier.

Ramirez applauded the jury for its verdict, saying “justice was done.”

“My mind is at peace, our voice was heard,” Ramirez said in a statement Thursday. “I hope from now on this never happens again to another parent. I hope this never happens again in the Escondido school district and as a result children there will be safer.

“It has been a long three years. I have so many emotions right now. I only hope that one day I will see my son again,” he said.

The school district’s attorney, Daniel Shinoff, said Thursday that the district and school officials “are saddened by the jury’s decision.”

“There will be a recommendation by me to seek appellate review of this case for a multiple number of reasons,” Shinoff said.

The lawsuit centered on the issue of who is authorized to pick up children from school, and how closely those policies are followed, especially when dealing with splintered families and complicated parent work schedules.

The suit was filed on behalf of Ramirez and his son against the school district, as well as the principal and the office manager.

When Enrique’s mother, Claudia Cano, was deported in November 2010, the boy went to live with his father, according to the lawsuit.

Cano called the school to report that she’d been deported and mentioned possibly taking Enrique on a trip to Mexico to visit family, the court documents state.

About a month later, she called the school and spoke again with the office manager, Graciela Mineroa Murguia. She said Enrique had a doctor’s appointment in 15 minutes but was unable to get out of work to take him. She told the manager that she was instead sending her boyfriend to pick him up.

The manager said she checked and saw that the boyfriend was not listed on the boy’s “emergency card” as an authorized person for pickup. But Murguia wrote down his name and said the boyfriend could do the pickup as long as he showed identification.

A school clerk was staffing the desk when the boyfriend showed up, and she let Enrique go with him upon checking the ID, according to court records.

Enrique appeared to recognize the boyfriend, calling him by his nickname, and looked “happy to see him,” according to the school district’s trial brief.

via Father, kidnapped son win $2.8M verdict Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.