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Woman asks for help after ex runs away with her child due to vaccination

Mariecar Jackson was halfway through a three-hour drive in a snowstorm in Saskatchewan.

She hadn’t seen her seven-year-old daughter in more than three weeks and was determined to pick up the girl from the home of Mariecar’s ex-husband, the child’s father, in Carievale, Saskatchewan, a village about 300 kilometers southeast of Regina, where she lives.

It was then that the RCMP called her and told her to turn around and go home.

Her ex-husband, Michael Jackson, and their daughter, Sarah, were gone, authorities said.

“I remember I had no energy,” Mariecar said. “I felt so hopeless. I was crying all the time.

It was December 8.

It has now been over two months since Mariecar last saw her daughter. Her ex-husband took their daughter to an unknown location, despite court orders to send her away.

What sparked the ordeal — though far from the only factor at play — was a struggle over whether to vaccinate the child against COVID-19. Mariecar thought the girl should be vaccinated; Michael fiercely opposes it.

Both parents have since spoken to the media, with Mariecar desperately asking anyone who sees her daughter to call the police, and Michael explaining on a far-right online show his decision to take the daughter in the face of vaccination and insisting that that she is treated well.

In addition to highlighting growing conflict between parents over vaccinations, it’s a story that cruelly highlights the challenges parents face when trying to get the court system to enforce restraining orders. keep.

On December 8, police had gone to Michael’s home in Carievale to try to recover the child, but discovered that he had fled.

“I was just in the car,” Mariecar recalled of her day in the snowstorm. “I called the deputy, I called the deputy, they said it was not their jurisdiction. I called the child and youth advocate, I called child protection, they said it’s not their jurisdiction…(it’s like) no one can help me .

The former couple divorced in 2018 and until recently had joint custody of their daughter. Mariecar’s house was the main residence and she had the ultimate decision-making power in case of disagreement between the parents. Following the girl’s abduction, Michael’s access was reduced to supervised access only, a court order which he is currently in violation of, said Jill Drennan, Mariecar’s attorney and office manager. Rural Legal Aid of Regina.

Mariecar, who works as an educational aide and has no other family in Canada, says it’s been an agonizing month as she wonders where Sarah might be.

“I’ve lost a lot of weight, but since I’ve been working with children, it gives me a little sanity,” Mariecar said, her voice hoarse from crying.

“I just feel like I have to be strong for my daughter. I just try to be there all the time so I don’t break down.

According to Drennan, the child has been with her father since around November 10, when he had his daughter visit for the Memorial Day long weekend. He did not return the girl on the agreed date of November 15.

Mariecar last spoke with Sarah on November 21. She was able to tell her daughter she loved her before the call ended abruptly.

As it became clear that the father had no intention of returning the child, Mariecar applied for a return order in court on November 26, which was granted. The father immediately appealed the order, which is still pending, but the courts have lifted the stay, meaning police could enforce the child’s return order in the meantime.

Michael appeared on an online talk show with far-right personality Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson last week and defended his decision to take the child to an unknown location. He acknowledged that the mother had the final say in decision-making, but said he did not think her position was given enough weight.

He said he had tried to start a discussion by giving their child the COVID-19 vaccine for “months” but the mother was determined by her decision to vaccinate the child.

“I saw it coming… She texted me back saying I will do whatever the government tells me to do. So my choice was made on the spot,” Michael said in the segment. .

In the recorded interview, Sarah can be seen in the background and he consents to her being recorded because he wants people to see that she is “healthy and happy”.

Michael could not be reached for further comment. A Saskatchewan cell phone number linked to him was disconnected.

Drennan, Mariecar’s attorney, said they had no idea where Michael might be, but were concerned he had left Saskatchewan as he had family elsewhere in the country. .

“We actually don’t have any solid evidence that he was sighted anywhere,” she said.

A source of frustration for them is that the police seem to be keeping the investigation quiet, perhaps out of concern to alert Michael and scare him further.

The police have so far issued no press releases or public appeals for help. Saskatchewan RCMP declined to comment.

Mariecar said she was frustrated that there had been no solid leads in the past four weeks and said she had had limited communication with the RCMP.

“To be honest with you, I’m frustrated with the police, but I know they’re my only allies, so I’m just trying to be patient,” Mariecar said.

“I don’t feel like they take me seriously. Because if they were, they would call me and let me know. But sometimes I was the one calling them all the time” , she added.

Additionally, she said police expressed skepticism that Michael would take their daughter out of the country and that they did not consider her “missing”.

In Canada, the courts have repeatedly sided with parents in favor of vaccination in cases of disagreement.

In a recent decision from Lethbridge, Alberta, the judge sided with a mother who wanted her two children vaccinated without their father’s consent and objections. The father was also banned from discussing COVID-19 with his children because the judge determined he was exposing them to harmful misinformation.

In a case in Ontario, a judge ruled that an anti-vax father could only visit his children while masked and outdoors.

Katharina Janczaruk, president of the Ontario Association of Child Protection Lawyers, said court orders for the return of a child to a specific parent can be very difficult to enforce.

“For example, if you just have an order that says the child has to be with the mother, the mother will have a hard time enforcing that. What she will usually have to do is go to court and get an order that specifically orders the police to locate and apprehend the child,” Janczaruk said.

“Sometimes the police consider it to be a servant and they really don’t want to be involved. And it takes a bit of conviction to say that this has actually moved past family court and you need to do something about it,” she added.

Janczaruk said she had heard of arguments between parents over vaccination becoming more common, but had not heard of reaching that level.

“I would say this conflict over vaccines is not uncommon, but conflict to this extent is I would say unusual,” she said.

For Mariecar, the vaccine is currently the least of her worries. She wants to message her ex-husband to put aside their differences and focus on the effect this ordeal is having on Sarah.

“I want to put the issue of vaccines aside for now and focus on what’s important, which is our daughter. And to Sarah, I just want you to know that I’m thinking of you every days. I want you to know that mom has never stopped looking for you. I just want you to come home soon and be a normal kid. And mom loves you very much.

Drennan urges the public to contact the RCMP if they see Michael or Sarah.

“We just hit a wall where we don’t know what the next steps will be. The clock is turning.”