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Facebook Social Networking Tool Helps Mom Find Missing Children

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By Kamika Dunlap on June 10, 2010 12:45 PM

As we know, Facebook is a social networking tool for people to connect with friends and send messages, but for Prince Segala the online site has unlocked so much more, helping her to find missing children who were kidnapped nearly 15 years ago.

Through a Facebook search Prince Segala, a San Bernardino County, California mother, located her missing children -- a daughter, now 17, and son, now 16, and alerted the police to their location, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.

Authorities reportedly say it may be the first time the Child Abduction Unit has recovered missing children after a discovery on a social networking site.

The father, Faustino Fernandez Utrera has been charged with two felony counts each of kidnapping and child abduction. The online interactions between the Prince Segala the children were enough for a judge to issue a $2 million arrest warrant for Utrera.

Prince Segala and Utrera married in 1992. As reported by the San Bernardino County Sun, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, the alleged kidnapping occurred in October 1995. Utrera called Segala to say that he and the children were in Mexico and that she would never see them again.

The children have been placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Custody proceedings are still ongoing.

Typically, in deciding who will have custody, the courts consider various factors. The overriding consideration is always the child's best interests.

Some factors are common in the best interest analysis used by the individual states, including:

  • Wishes of the child (if old enough to capably express a reasonable preference);
  • Mental and physical health of the parents;
  • Religion and/or cultural considerations;
  • Need for continuation of stable home environment;
  • Support and opportunity for interaction with members of extended family of either parent;
  • Interaction and interrelationship with other members of household;
  • Adjustment to school and community;
  • Age and sex of child;
  • Parental use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse; and
  • Evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sex abuse

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