News in Michigan, like news just about anywhere else in the United States, has been very centered on our turbulent political situation. However, while the President and protesters have dominated our media, a lot of other events have been taking place here in the Mitten state that are equally relevant. In particular, the attempted parental kidnapping of a 2-year-old girl.
Haley Fargo, a 2-year-old living in Ludington, was taken by her father, Mark Saporita-Fargo, who made it almost all the way to the Michigan-Indiana border before being intercepted by police. The incident started during Saporita-Fargo’s unsupervised visitation time with Haley. Court documents show that he was on the verge of having his parental rights terminated by the state, which may have played a role in his decision to take his daughter and flee the state.
In addition to the pending termination of rights, Saporita-Fargo was facing other criminal charges. Court documents show that the 47-year-old father was facing charges for allegedly having sex with an underaged girl. As a result, he had been charged with two counts of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.
Saporita-Fargo was scheduled to appear in court the very next day, for a three day jury trial. In addition, there was a permanency hearing scheduled in Haley’s case, which would have been one of the step in determining where she would live permanently. Court documents reveal that Haley’s parents had signed power of attorney over to another couple, who had been caring for Haley since November of 2015.
Apparently Haley’s parents had been living in Alabama and it had been months since either one had contact with Haley, or provided her caregivers with funds to help support her. However, Haley’s mother returned to Michigan and attempted to regain custody of her, although CPS documents reveal that the agency had advised against it. At the time Saporita-Fargo was still living in Alabama, with several criminal warrants out for his arrest in Michigan.
According to police, Saporita-Fargo later returned to Michigan. In early 2016 and adjusted court order allowed for supervised visits, and after several months CPS believed it was safe to allow unsupervised visitation. It was during the most recent unsupervised visit that Saporita-Fargo took Haley and headed for the state border.
After she was not returned at the appointed time in Mason County, and no one was able to contact Saporita-Fargo, police reached out on social media for help from the public. The father and daughter were stopped the following morning in the village of Montgomery in Hillsdale County. An hour later officers also arrested Jeffery Alan Miller, who had assisted in the kidnapping by driving the pair.
As attorneys who have spent years representing the parents of mid-Michigan, fighting to reunite and protect families, we understand the horror that a parent experiences when they are faced with the permanent loss of a child. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of not taking the law into your own hands. Unfortunately, although we understand this father’s desire to be with his daughter, he will now have even less chance of ever being a part of her life.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime that may result in CPS removing your children from your custody, or your parental rights are in jeopardy, call us immediately at 866-346-5879. The skilled attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have many, many years of experience defending the rights of parents all over Michigan with significant success! We can help you too.