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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Cherokee Woman In International Parental Kidnapping Case

Mother of Three Kidnapped the Children and Fled to Mexico

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – United States Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte returned yesterday a criminal indictment against Shira Elizabeth Mattocks, aka Shira Elizabeth Raman, 27, of Cherokee, N.C., for kidnapping her three children and fleeing to Mexico.  Mattocks was first charged by a criminal complaint filed in the Western District of North Carolina on June 20, 2016, and she was arrested the same month upon returning to the United States. 

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief James Dike Sneed of the Cherokee Indian Police Department join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to allegations contained in the criminal complaint and the bill of indictment, Mattocks was involved in ongoing custody disputes with the fathers of her three young children, identified in court documents as E.A., J.O. and S.O.As alleged in court documents, sometime after November 14, 2014, Mattocks kidnapped E.A., J.O. and S.O., and fled the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the fathers’ parental rights.Law enforcement located Mattocks in Mexico and with the assistance and cooperation of the Mexican authorities Mattocks was deported back to the United States.On June 22, 2016, Mattocks was taken into custody upon her arrival at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose said, “As alleged in the indictment, Mattocks abducted her three young children and fled to another country, where she hid for more than a year and a half.Rather than deal with pending custody issues, Mattocks chose to run, causing significant distress to the children’s fathers and potentially exposing the young victims to a great deal of psychological harm.Thanks to the diligent efforts of our law enforcement partners, the children have safely returned to the United States to resume a normal childhood and Mattocks will face the consequences of her actions.”

“The FBI is uniquely positioned to investigate cases involving charges related to international parental kidnapping.  Through our Legal Attaché offices covering more than 200 countries, the FBI can work directly with other law enforcement agencies to bring justice to children whose parents try to take the law into their own hands,” said FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Strong.    

Mattocks is currently in federal custody.  Her arraignment has been scheduled for July 27, 2016, at 9:40 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Howell in Asheville.  Mattocks is charged with three counts of international parental kidnapping.  Each charge carries a maximum term of three years in prison. 

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose commended the FBI and the Cherokee Indian Police Department for their investigation of the case, and thanked LEGAT Mexico City, Guadalajara Sub-office, participating officers with the Instituto Nacional de Migración and La Policía Federal for their invaluable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pritchard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 20, 2016