Judge Larry Hayes, a Montery County California judge, on Friday the 25th of January 2013 dismissed the charges against Eva Ruiz-Gomez. The best place to have resolved the issue would have been family court, Hayes said. Because the case was brought to criminal court and there was no proof of malice, he dismissed the charges.
Eva Ruiz-Gomez was charged by the Monterey County District Attorney’s office with felony kidnapping based on California penal code 278.5. The charges alleged that she took her son to Mexico and deprived the boy’s biological father of visitation rights.
The criminal case analyzed the custody orders that prompted the felony charge and were labelled as confusing.
In 2002, the boy’s father Ruiz-Gomez obtained permission by the Court to take him to Mexico by the end of the year,. That trip was delayed. In the meantime, the boy’s biological father, Ramon Muñoz, requested visitations, which were granted by a second order.
Ruiz-Gomez and her family left for Mexico at the end of 2003. In court declarations, Muñoz said he attempted to find out where Ruiz-Gomez moved, to not avail. He obtained a third court order in 2004 that gave him partial custody of the boy.
The order was never properly served, but was the basis for Ruiz-Gomez’s felony charges. The documents were served to a relative, a person too young to accept legal service and not to Ruiz-Gomez.. Ruiz-Gomez has stated that her location in Mexico was never hidden. The father went to the Monterey County District Attorney’s office to open a case of felony abduction against her.
Ruiz-Gomez says she didn’t appear at the hearing because she didn’t know it was even taking place. Judge Kay Kingsley, according to an official transcript, said, “Is Eva Gomez present? No?” and then changed the custody order. Within a few weeks, Muñoz went to the District Attorney and asked to open a child abduction case against her.
In 2009 Ruiz-Gomez was returned to Monterey County, and more than a year later was charged with a felony under CA penal code 278.5. She was arrested and a Monterey County investigator removed her son from her, school and handed him over to the boys biological father, where he stayed until another judge rescinded that order 10 days later.
On Friday, Hayes said the two valid court orders were confusing, to the point that even prosecution investigator Manuel Infante admitted Ruiz-Gomez possibly had permission from the court to go to Mexico. If the orders could confuse a law enforcement official, Hayes concluded, they surely could confuse the boy’s mother.
The boy who is fifteen has resisted all attempts to spend time with his biological father.