Chandler father fighting to bring son home

Posted: Updated:
A Chandler father says he is desperately trying to get his son back after his ex-wife violated a court order to return the boy.

Jeremy Powell last saw his 11-year-old son, Hayden, on Dec. 19, when he put him on the plane to go visit his mother in Alabama for winter break.

"While he was there on winter break, she contacted me and said she was overriding the judge's ruling and that she would be keeping him," Powell said.

Powell, who is remarried, immediately started the process to try and get Hayden back. They were granted another court order which he thought might do the trick. He was wrong.

"When the judge issued the order for her to return him or the police would remove him from her custody, she fled with him from the residence they were staying in and she sent me a text (saying), 'Good luck trying to get him back,' " he said.

They've had no communication with Hayden for weeks now and are unsure of his whereabouts.

Hayden also has autism and his dad says because of that, he needs structure and a set schedule, something he does not have currently.

The Powells, who live in Chandler, went to police saying this was custodial interference, but they say they didn't get much help.

"When parents' custodial rights are violated, it's law enforcement's responsibility to be there to step in to either help enforce those custodial rights or charge the person with a crime," said Scott Rowley, the Powells' attorney.

Jeremy Powell and his wife, Shannon, flew to Alabama last week to look for Hayden on their own and to make sure the court order issued here would be recognized there.

They said law enforcement in Alabama was very receptive.

"They issued a felony warrant for her arrest and they've been actively looking for her," Jeremy Powell said.

As this situation has unfolded, the Powells created this Facebook Page.

Shannon Powell, Hayden's stepmom, says one of the hardest parts of all of this is trying to explain it to Hayden's step and half siblings, who miss their brother terribly.

"You don't know what to tell them because you don't know when, and you just keep telling them to stay strong and we're not going to give up looking until he's home," she said.

The Powells are hopeful all their efforts will pay off and that Hayden will be brought home safe soon.

Once he is brought back to Chandler, the Powells say his mom will only be allowed supervised visits and he will not be able to leave the state with her again.