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'They are being victimized by CPS'; Grass-roots group claims responsibility for kidnapping

Maggie Vespa

The Phoenix-based group documents its efforts online.

'They are being victimized by CPS'; Grass-roots group claims responsibility for kidnapping

CREATED Aug. 5, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Is it vigilante justice or a desperate attempt to save a child?

An Arizona group is on a mission to bring down CPS.

Four women are behind bars, including the boy's mother.

They say as long as he was in Child Protective Services' custody, he was in danger of abuse.

They say they had to kidnap him to save him, but officials have a very different take.
 
They call it a campaign against a corrupt system.
 
Tucson police call it a drive-by kidnapping.
 
TPD says on Friday, July 26th, three women pulled up in a car to a CPS visitation facility and distracted a front desk worker, giving Teketa Riley time to run out with her 6 year-old son and jump in the car.
 
They took off.
 
TPD called in the feds.
 
"They worked for several days to track these people down.  They located them in a residence in Maricopa County," said Sgt. Chris Widmer.
 
Among them, was self described 'child advocate' Paula Flowe.
 
"The campaign we're doing is called 'Arizona Operation: Let My People Go,'" said Flowe in a YouTube video.
 
The Phoenix-based group documents its efforts online, dedicating one video to this case.
 
They accuse CPS of kidnapping children for profit and covering up abuse.
 
"They're victims.  They're being victimized by CPS," said Bob Hanks.
 
The fellow advocate argues parents, concerned for their kids safety, fight a losing battle.
 
"And only parents who have a lot of money are able to get reunification with their children," he said.
 
"There's the judge.  There are the parents and their lawyers, the child and their lawyers," said Edith Croxen.
 
Croxen works with the Pima County Office of Children's Counsel.
 
He says there is no shortage of eyes and agencies surrounding each child.
 
"So it's really hard to find a case that I can think of off the top of my head where a child has been so isolated and abused that no one ever knew about it," she said.
 
That's not enough for this group, that's prepared to take the law into their own hands.
 
9OYS reached out to CPS, but they say they can't comment on specific cases.
 
We also asked Tucson Police the abuse allegations in this case, but so far we have found no records to substantiate that claim.
 
The four women arrested, Flowe, Riley, Debbie Ramos and Crystal Nuttle are being held in Maricopa County jail.  They are awaiting extradition to Pima County.
 
Each faces one count of custodial interference, a felony.

 

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