Karen Kristine Sudderth, today a 52-year old woman, kidnapped her child 12-years ago and fled the United States to Senegal in West Africa, and later to Thailand.
Back in 1996, Karen Kristine Sudderth had custody of the child (then 5-years old), with the father, David Calhoun, having visitation rights every other weekend under a court-approved plan. However, on August 30th, 1996, Sudderth failed to bring the boy for Calhoun’s scheduled parenting time. She had whisked their son away to Africa.
From the article:
Lewis County prosecutors charged Sudderth with first-degree custodial interference in January 1997, and she was charged in November 1997 by federal prosecutors for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
In 1999, Karen Kristine Sudderth was indicted by a grand jury on international parental kidnapping charges. She faces a prison term of up to three years and a $250,000 fine.
Unfortunately for David Calhoun, who hasn’t seen his son since 1996, those years are long gone and no one knows the type of parental alienation he’s endured over that time. It’s probably no coincidence that the mother has returned with the child after his 18th birthday. As a legal adult, the court cannot impose an order which would require him to ever see his father. Sudderth’s mission was completed, probably to her satisfaction, and the lives of the child and Mr. Calhoun shall never be the same. The lengths some parents will go to in order to separate children from their targets never ceases to disappoint.
Here’s hoping that she is punished harshly for committing such an awful crime against not only David Calhoun, but their child as well.
For the full article click here: Arrested: Woman wanted for 12 years for kidnapping son
Additionally, and this comes as no surprise as we see such stories all the time, David Calhoun’s attorney asserts that Karen Kristine Sudderth falsely accused him of child abuse during the contentious divorce and custody proceedings. This is a common tactic among those looking to gain an upper hand in custody battles. Calhoun was cleared by authorities and even passed a voluntary polygraph test in his own defense at the time.
Undeterred, Sudderth kidnapped the child, fled the United States, and effectively severed the bond between the boy and his father. It is David Calhoun’s hope that with the aid of psychologists, he can somehow regain a relationship with his son.
Sudderth was released on a paltry $1,000 bail and won’t see the inside of a courtroom until March of 2010 at the earliest.
What if the mom couldn’t prove to the court there was any abuse but she witnessed it with her own eyes? What if she tried to follow the law and let the court system decide. He was given weekend visitation. What if he continued the abuse during those weekend visits? (story doesn’t say how long after the hearing it was that she left) What if she just complied with the order? What would become of the son forced to endure the abuse? How long should she let him be abused before there was finally some kind of evidence? Without more information good arguments can be made for both sides. She IS guilty of taking the child out of the country and not complying with the court orders which is why she was arrested, but if it were you and your kid in a situation like I just described what would you do? Maybe this is the rock and hard place she found herself in…
What if, like so many others, she’s lying? We don’t condone taking the law into your own hands – and breaking it.
This is for the administrator of this site. You are clearly siding with fathers here and prejudiced against mothers. Since I happen to personally know Kristy ,Dave, their child and Kristy’s family I can tell you that Kristy did what she needed to do to protect her son. WA State has a notoriously bad reputation for being able to figure out what is abuse and what isn’t. Look at the number of kids killed in this state by their parents (foster or biological) AFTER numerous reports to CPS. It is a joke. You are right in that taking the law into our own hands shouldn’t be done but when a child’s life is at stake as Kristy & many others believed in this situation, she felt she had no option. The courts failed her & the boy. Once he was old enough to make his own choices & she felt the boy could DEFEND himself, she came home. Have you looked into Dave Calhoun’s stellar history before and since his marriage to Kristy? That may shed some interest to this. Remember. There is ALWAYS 2 sides to a story and the newspaper never prints both!
Your assessment of my “prejudice” would be wholly incorrect. And when the time comes that you can provide me with proof of the oft-used allegations of abuse (which are often false), I will gladly print a retraction.
Regardless of what the truth is, she broke the law and I’ve received no information at all that supports the allegation of abuse aside from what the reports indicated from the accused and now you… a friend.
And you want to talk about bias? I comment on the reports as presented and if presented with information that clearly demonstrates a different situation, I have no problem posting that information and an apology as well.
Admin, thank you for reporting on this situation in a fair and unbiased manner. You presented the facts as they are known, which is what the parties concerned will take to court and let a judge decide. I scan the web on occasion looking for more information about this situation, and I want you to know that I appreciate you posting factual developments here.
Col, I’m also personally involved in the case, but considering the trial is still pending, it doesn’t seem appropriate to me to go spouting off unsubstantiated opinion on a message board. It is hurtful to read comments like yours that are full of venom and untruths, but I have faith in our justice system and believe that what is right will prevail. I will continue to monitor this trial and its outcome with great interest.
The end result, either way, is that a young man’s life has been forever altered because of the failure of his parents to figure out how to parent civilly. That is a crime that can never be resolved in a court. My only hope for the son is that he will weather the falsehoods and the grueling experience of a trial, and will come out on the other end able to make his own decisions about how to live his life.
So, admin…. what do you think now? That dust is settling?
Well, RER, my opinion hasn’t changed. There was no evidence of child abuse and the husband was repeatedly cleared by authorities. She kidnapped their son in willful defiance of a lawful court order. These are not mere allegations – she didn’t simply go on a 12-year vacation with their child. She’s guilty of doing those things whether found so by a jury of her peers or not.
She was offered and accepted a plea deal to avoid much more serious incarceration and the judge rejected the plea deal outright due to the level of contempt shown by Ms. Sudderth.
The dust isn’t exactly settled, but from where I’m sitting and with the limited information available, she made unsubstantiated abuse claims against her ex, kidnapped the child to a foreign land in defiance of a court’s lawful order. She was prepared to admit guilt to avoid more serious felony charges and did so, and it seems the judge isn’t going to let her off the hook “that easily.”
Karen Kristine Sudderth Plea Deal Rejected by Judge
A 180-day sentence for kidnapping a child and effectively ending his relationship with his father is a slap on the wrist. I guess for Karen Kristine Sudderth it’s a very small price to pay for “mission accomplished.”
interesting to see everyones input on Kristy Sudderth-well she didnt serve her 88 days, even after pissing off the judge. Lets make clear a couple things that I know are fact. If this child was so abused she just had to leave the country then why did she write a letter to the judge when she left stating that the abuse wasnt all that bad but she had a job offer in Africa and had to leave. You cant have it both ways and I dont know any mother who would ever say well the abuse really wasnt that bad. It’s either abuse or its not. She left so she could extort money from her parents until the day they died. As long as she was out of the country looking like this abused mother and child they would continue to help her-never knowing the trueth. And they would live below the poverty level giving her all their money. Thats what kind of woman she really was. She is liar and theif and a manipulator and the judge saw it. I was there, I have been investigating this case for 14 years. I met the family and the parents.
She was my first grade teacher in Thailand!
Love seeing the person that said they knew Kristy and the family. Doubtful! I know the family personally, this was hard on everyone involved but I can say to all those so passionate that IF this child was abused would a loving parent write the judge after leaving and tell him it really wasnt that bad I had to leave because I got a job offer. Really?? If your child has been abused would you be making deals and declaring that the abuse really wasnt as bad as all that. She has 13 years to brain wash that kid to say and think whatever she wanted.If a grain of what she said were true why didnt the judge go along with the prosecutions deal? Because he saw right through her maipulation of the legal system.