Josephine Cuskelly, the Irish mother who disappeared from her home in Connecticut with her 11-month-old son in July, has lost legal custody of the child.
Cuskelly, 42, originally from County Offaly, became the focus of a national dragnet when she went missing on July 24 with her son Zarakseez.
The boy’s father, Raaz Omar, launched a legal action to gain sole custody of his son three days after Cuskelly fled with the boy.
On September 9, and after Cuskelly failed to appear at five separate court hearings, the court awarded it to him. However, neither Cuskelly nor the boy have been seen or heard from since.
Authorities believe that Cuskelly has not left the U.S. because neither Interpol, the international police agency nor the Irish government has found any record of her presenting to customs and immigration anywhere in the world.
Cuskelly’s sudden unexplained abduction and disappearance will have major legal consequences because if she does reappear before a U.S. court it’s understood that she will have a difficult time convincing authorities that she is fit to be allowed unrestricted access to her son.
Omar told the IrishCentral’s sister publication the Irish Voice on Monday that the strain of the experience is taking a toll on himself and his relatives. He is also concerned about the inaccurate media reports that have appeared recently.
“The media (in Ireland) reported this story last week as if I’d just been awarded custody of Zarakseez, but that actually happened on September 9. I haven’t heard a word from Josephine, and apparently her own family in Ireland doesn’t talk to her. They have an attorney now and they won’t talk to my private investigators in Ireland,” he said.
Zarakseez’s birthday is on Thursday, November 5 and Omar and his family are finding little comfort in the heartbreaking fact.
“Josephine was going through postpartum depression, she had stopped taking her meds, she had severe anxieties and mental disorders but even so, I did not file charges of kidnapping. I don’t want to toss her into jail,” Omar added.
Saying that he had tried every course of action he could think of without success, Omar says he may now be forced to pursue every legal means available to him. He has also been in touch with the Irish Consulate in New York.
“I have gone though every possible motion. The Irish vice consul general has been more than helpful, as has his staff at the consulate. Everyone has reached out and tried to be helpful to Josephine, but she’s still evading the law,” he says.
“I think she now fears she’ll go to jail for taking the child from a safe environment. Now she doesn’t have any income and she can’t drive.”
Omar suspects that Cuskelly may be staying at a women’s shelter somewhere in the U.S. As a former employee of a health clinic she may have friends within the network who have agreed to harbor her.
“We have strong reason to believe she is still here in the U.S. This is a parent’s worst nightmare. Josephine’s sister claims she has been in contact with her but doesn’t know where she is,” says Omar.
“She claims that Josephine is afraid to come forward now because the authorities have ruled against her. Her sister claims she will try to talk some sense into her when she calls again. All I want her to do is come forward.”
Omar said their relationship ran into difficulty last spring and in July he refused to allow Cuskelly to bring their son on a trip to Ireland to see her family. She disappeared with the boy shortly thereafter.