Finally, little Ricky Chekevdia, the child in Illinois whose mother kidnapped him and hid him in a secret room that was 12 feet long, five feet wide and three feet high to prevent his father from finding him and exercising parenting time with him, is going to live with his father on a permanent basis. I first wrote about that story here: "Parental kidnappping: An effective response."
Mike Chekevdia was awarded temporary custody of his seven year old son, Ricky this week, according to reports on WSILTV. (02/21/10).
After a court awarded temporary custody to Chekevdia when Ricky was was four years old, his mother, Shannon Wilfong, kidnapped him. She hid him at the house of her mother, Diane Dobbs. Ricky was finally discovered by police about two years later. Chekevdia was accused of child abuse by Wilfong. That claim was investigated by child protective workers and found to be entirely unsubstantiated.
Wilfong has been charged with felony child abduction. That case has not gone to trial and her attorney was allowed to withdraw. The judge has ordered Wilfong to employ one.
Wilfong continues to contest custody, but her conduct in abducting and hiding the child has been termed "neglect." The court has ruled that she's "unfit at this time" to act as a parent. Presently, she has only supervised parenting time.
Mike Chekevdia has exercised parenting time up to a month at a time during the past five months. Chekevdia says that Ricky is doing well , and has gained nine pounds and grown three inches.
Until the criminal charges are determined, the family court intends to monitor the
custody situation. Chekevdia says he supports contact between Ricky and his mother. In the meantime, Ricky still has a state-appointed guardian for Ricky. Another hearing in the custody case, at which results of a psychiatric evaluation of Wilfong will be presented, is scheduled for July.