Three year old, Vera Timofeev arrived in Belize with her mother Raquel Margarita Cocom just after midday today. We first broke the story when Cocom, with the assistance of Tikkun Olam’s Director, Elisa Castellanos, won a court battle to have her daughter returned to her. Cocom had gotten involved with a Russian national who was residing in Belize for almost ten years. They had a daughter together and when the child was just under two years old, he left Belize for the United States and has kept the child in the US since November 2017. The mother filed a case under the Hague Convention to get little Vera back and won. Castellanos and Cocom travelled on Saturday to Fairfield Colombia, South Carolina. Cocom received her daughter at the police station there on Sunday and the two spent the rest of the day together. They arrived back in Belize today and our news team was there to capture the moment.
Dalilah Ical: “A playful three year old Vira Timophie spent the rest of Sunday with her mother after meeting since they were seperated a year ago. The child’s father took her from her mother in 2017 but with the help of Attorneys Matthew Aby, Billy Mcgee and their Paralegal Kim Lanier of Nelson Mullins Firm she was able to recover her baby.”
Elisa Castellano Director Tikkun Olam: “To see it from the very beginning Dalilah, a mom with a year of sadness, a year of utter sadness for this mother missing her child and the day we knew that we had won the case she said to me it feels like if a burden has lifted from my chest and I can breathe again and it was a hectic three days. The transition was smooth, we were all worried that the baby wouldn’t recognize the mom but she did the minute she stepped out of the car and she said mama and that was it. It was magical and that was the most fulfilling ,moment for me to see the child still being able to recognize her mom and they spent the whole weekend cuddling and they went to the zoo. We got free tickets to go to the zoo in South Carolina. The Attorneys from Nelson and Mullins we wan’t to say a special thank you Dalilah these Attorneys really worked for Ms. Cocom. While we were there they made sure that we had everything you know: they were attentive, they are the biggest hearted, kindest most pitbull Attorneys that we have known and it is really and truly their handy work that has us here and it still continues. There are a couple things that we still have to sort out but in terms of the decision Ms. Cocom now has her daughter and she is happy. They want to spend some time at home and relax and get them sorted out in the next month or so and get her into school, get her settled and she is really excited to get back to her family and share Vira with the family.”
Dalilah Ical: “Castellanos says that little Vira’s father will still be in her life.”
Elisa Castellano Director Tikkun Olam: “Ms. Cocoms concern is the baby, the best interest of the child and so she wants to make sure that she has a relationship with the father. Of Course she is going to be careful, she is going to be informed but she wants to foster a relationship with the father and so that is really and truly his role from now is to see how they will work out keeping in touch but that’s all the little details that can be done here. The biggest battle has been won which is to reunite this mother and her child.”
Dalilah Ical: “The child has spent a year or more with her dad. Was there any sort of separation anxiety that she showed or displayed when her mom arrived for her?”
Elisa Castellano Director Tikkun Olam: “That is why we praise god Ms. Dalilah we arrived and the minute they took her out of the vehicle from the father she looked across because we were a few yards away, she looked across at her mother and she smiled and you saw recognition in her face and the transition Ms. Dalilah was smooth. I believe this child missed her mom.
Dalilah Ical: “Castellanoes adds that it was an entire community who came together to get Vira back home.”
Elisa Castellano Director Tikkun Olam: “I would really want to say thank you to HighTide Guest house in Placencia for paying our Visa. The Missionary Ms. I don’t remember her first name in North Carolina who paid a Visa as well. We want to thank Kaleb Orosco from UNIBAM who really and truly helped me with my expenses to be able to accompany Ms. Cocom and Ms. Cocom said to me on the way I don’t know how I would have dont this by self. The Department of Human Services are here today to pick us up, they dropped us off at the airport and they have been supportive since we got the ruling and we really and truly want to continue to work with them to provide Ms. Cocom with those support services while she transitions back into having her child full time. Really and truly a huge pleasure for me to be able to accompany her and I just want to say thank you out there to everybody that pitched in. Even the Mr. Jugo the the Dollar Taxi Man in Orange Walk that used to drive us to court, drive us to the DPP to do this or do that, thank you. This victory is not a victory only for Ms. Cocom or only for Tikkun Olam but for Belize, it is a victory for the country and the community of Orange Walk and everybody who pitched in. Thank you so very much for that one action that you did and it just goes to show that you can do one thing and it can change the world for someone.”
Dalilah Ical: “An emotionally exhausted Cocom opted not to comment on her reunion with baby Vira today. Dalilah Ical Love News”
According to Elisa Castellanos, the father of the child has indicated that he will not appeal the outcome of the case.