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Feb 10, 2012 10:59 PM by Shawn Kline

Getting answers about father's custody rights

Evangeline Parish's Corey Gautreaux was arrested last Saturday and accused of kidnapping his daughter, Riley.

Gautreaux and the child's mother have a verbal custody agreement but nothing official. So, how can the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office charge him with kidnapping?

That's just one of a list of questions KATC had for law enforcement.

Question 1: Can a biological parent be charged with kidnapping without having a legal custody agreement?

"It was a personal agreement, now it's going on paper, " Gautreaux said. "That way nobody can interfere with me and my child again."

See our previous article on this Gautreaux's recent custody fiasco here.

Gautreaux says he was picking his daughter up last Friday evening from her grandmothers house, which was nothing unusual, until things escalated.

"When I'm coming up with (Riley), Grandma jumped on me," he said.

Later that night, U.S. Marshalls arrested Gautreaux saying he took the child by force and committed a battery against Grandma to abduct the three-year-old.

KATC made a call to Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle about these charges.
He says each case is different but in typical cases, the kidnapping charge doesn't hold water because Gautreaux is the biological parent and there's no custody agreement in place keeping him from seeing his child.

Question 2: What's the criteria law enforcement agencies must meet before issuing a state-wide all-points-bulletin (APB)?

According to Gautreaux, police knew where Riley was the whole time.

Avoyelles Parish deputies however, went as far as filing an Amber Alert with State Police.
State Police say the report given to them didn't fall anywhere near Amber Alert guidelines but issued a Level II Advisory, due to reports of battery.

Gautreaux's mother questions why this APB was ever filed by Avoyelles Parish if they knew where the child was. In essence, was Riley ever really "missing?"

"Now my son's face is splattered all over TV to make him look like he beats up elderly people and steals children," she said.

Question 3: Did the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office make an attempt to contact Gautreaux before filing for an Amber Alert?

Avoyelles Parish deputies haven't told us whether they made any attempt to contact Gautreaux before issuing a 'missing child' notice.

Question 4: Will this recent arrest have an impact on Gautreaux's right to have custody of his daughter?

Thursday is the next switch-off date for three-year-old Riley. Riley's mother and father, Gautreaux, are expected to exchange custody at the Bunkie Police Department.

Gautreaux has not seen his daughter since he was arrested Saturday night.

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