Every parent has his or her reason to believe that they are the best caretaker of their child, and those feelings are passionately held. In the instance of a well-known Texas case, it turns out that a father was so sure that he should have had custody of his son that he disappeared with the boy for 17 years.
Stephen Palacios married Dee Ann Adams in 1989, and when their marriage ended in divorce a few years after it began, that is when Adams not only lost a husband but a son as well. Palacios allegedly disappeared with the then 3-year-old Stephen Palacios Jr. and managed to stay out of authorities' grasp for almost two decades.
But the case has taken a surprising turn in the past couple of weeks. Palacios Jr., now a 20-year-old man, saw the story about his disappearance and persuaded his father that it is important that they "do the right thing and get this taken care of now." Sources claim that the son has contacted his mother and wants to meet with her. He, however, does not seem to be choosing sides in this case, as he was reportedly by his dad's side when he was arrested and locked up in a Harris County jail last week.
Palacios Sr. faces a felony charge of interference with child custody and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. His lawyer believes that his client, whom he describes as "a good man," should not be judged too harshly in the child custody case because his actions were always done with the best interests of his son in mind.
Though Palacios' defense attorney insists that taking the child and keeping him during the past 17 years was not related to the father's relationship with Adams (the mother), Palacios' reason behind disappearing with his son is yet to be revealed. Officials are also investigating how the father and son duo managed to evade police for so long.
There are many questions that remain to be answered in this case, and we will post an update as developments become public.
The Houston Chronicle: Taken as a boy, solves case as a man (9/18/2010)