A Texas woman who fled to Ireland with her two children in 2005 is to attend an extradition hearing in Dublin on Wednesday, December 3.
Tedra Erickson and her mother, Kay Erickson, took her two children, Emma and Kaitlyn, to Ireland in early 2005 after a nasty custody battle with their father, Michael Peterson. According to news reports, they didn’t have any connection with Ireland.
A custody battle in March 2005 awarded joint custody to both parents. However, Erickson and the children’s father wanted full custody.
In April of that year, Peterson, who separated from Erickson after four years of marriage, went to a scheduled meeting with his children at the police station but they never showed up. That was the last he saw of them until a private investigator located them in 2006 in Tralee, County Kerry.
According to news reports, Erickson, with the aid of her mother, crossed the border with the children at Canada and traveled by cargo ship to Britain, and came to Ireland via Holyhead, settling in Tralee.
A felony warrant was issued for Tedra on April 13, 2005 and for her mother on September 2006.
After a year of trying to locate his children alone Peterson hired private investigator Philip Cline.
In September 2006, the investigator located the mother, grandmother and children in Tralee. The children were attending school and Tedra had a full time job as a chiropodist.
Peterson went to Ireland to meet his children shortly after their discovery. According to interviews Peterson gave to the media after the meeting, the children didn’t want to have anything to do with him.
A court hearing took place in Ireland under the rules of the Hague Child Abduction Convention, set up to establish contact between children and their parents when families separate.
The judge decided to allow the children to settle in Ireland. However, a grand jury in Collin County, Texas, in 2008 indicted Erickson and her mother on interference with child custody, a state-jail felony. He called for both women to be extradited back to the U.S.
Cline told a local newspaper in Texas that out of 16 years as a child rescue investigator, this is one of the most aggressive cases of parental alienation he has seen.
“I bring kids back from all over the world,” Cline said. “In this case, these children are going to need extreme psycho-therapy. I believe the children will come back to their father, but it won’t be kisses and roses. It will be a long, hard road for the entire family.”
Tedra has been working in Ireland as a chiropodist for the past number of years. The mother of two was working in a chiropodist clinic in Tralee before moving to Limerick.
IrishCentral’s sister publication the Irish Voice spoke to an employee of the clinic on Tuesday. The employee said that she was recently fired from the clinic for telling lies, practicing under a false license and other serious issues.
According to the employee, Tedra is now illegally practicing chiropody around Limerick City. She was unavailable for comment.
In related news, Peterson’s new wife, Celeste, is charged with assaulting Tedra with a deadly weapon seven years ago.
According to news reports, Celeste stabbed Erickson with a knife in front of her two daughters. The case is to be heard in January. It has been ongoing for six years, partly because Erickson was not in the U.S. to give evidence.
If Justice Michael Peart at the High Court in Dublin rules to allow the extradition in December, Tedra and her mother could be returned to the U.S. to be tried for interference with a child custody case and parental abduction.
Peterson, who has two other children, has spent time behind bars with a record of harassment, theft, drunk driving and burglary.
Curtis Howard, Collin County assistant district attorney, said his side of the paperwork to complete the extradition process is complete and he is waiting on the Department of Justice and the State Department to do final approval. He said he is unsure what the status is in Ireland.