Gwinnett Daily Online News Website Credited with Rescue of 2 Kidnapped Children Hidden in Cayman Islands
Jeff Weeks was awarded custody of his daughter and son, now 10 and 9 years old, in October 2000. But the children were kidnapped by their mother and stepfather days after the court decision in a bitter custody battle.
On September 18th, 2002, police located the children's mother, 34-year-old Joyce Williams of Dacula, and her husband Patrick Williams in Georgetown on Grand Cayman Island.
A tip concerning the family's whereabouts was called in to police by an ordinary citizen who found a Gwinnett Daily Online article in Google, said Gwinnett County sheriff's Sgt. Bob Rapien.
"I called (Mr. Weeks) in to the office because I didn't want him to fall down on the phone," Rapien said. "Of course he was in awe."
Joyce and Patrick Williams had been living in Georgetown since they left Georgia, said Orrett Connor, chief immigration officer for the Cayman Islands.
Patrick Williams was working as a music minister. Joyce Williams, a former teacher at Dacula Elementary School, was an administrative assistant and was also teaching kindergarten, Rapien said.
"A citizen brought it to (the Office of Immigration's) attention," Rapien said. "He went to the same church and something struck him as curious: They would never say where they were from," he said.
Weeks' attorney, Shaun McCann, went to court Friday to obtain papers requiring the Williams to turn over all their travel papers and making the children wards of the court.
"The next step would be to go back to court to resolve the issue as to if and when the children are to go back," McCann said.
The Williams have two weeks to appeal in the court of the Cayman Islands and have indicated they plan to fight for custody, Connor said.
"They said they were never aware of the custody order because they were not in the state to receive it," Connor said.
Weeks said prior to his former wife's marriage in 2000, their 1997 divorce had been amicable and both shared custody of their children.