Vancouver Province

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Hidden five-year-old reunited with father

John Bermingham
The Province

Jenny Jacome, with son Josiah
The Province
Marlon Amaya enters Surrey Provincial Courthouse yesterday to attend custody hearing.

After three months in hiding, five-year-old Josiah Jacome surfaced in Surrey yesterday.

The boy was handed over to a social worker and reunited with his father, Marlon Amaya, while his mother, Jenny Jacome, lingers in jail for allegedly refusing to hand over the child.

A tearful Amaya said he hadn't seen his son since January 2000. He said Jacome had hidden the boy, despite a court order giving him custody.

Amaya, 27, said Josiah did not recognize him at first when they met, but then he leaped up and they hugged each other.

"We just looked at each other -- we did not believe it was real," he said. "Then he jumped up on me. I squeezed him so tight. I had not seen him for so long."

Josiah spent last night at his dad's home. Surrey family court awarded him interim custody in July.

Social worker Richelle Brazunas, who interviewed Josiah yesterday, told the court he is in good health, except for a cold.

"He came across as a very intelligent, bright, well-spoken little boy," she said.

The boy told her that he and his grandmother had travelled to Australia, California and Washington State, staying a few days at a time, before moving on.

Jacome's mother, Vilma Alvizirius, did not show yesterday, and a warrant is outstanding for her arrest on alleged child-abduction charges.

While on their travels, Josiah said his grandma told him that his dad was "mean" and wanted to "rob him."

"He had to travel because if he didn't, Mr. Amaya would get him," said Brazunas.

Jacome made a number of allegations against Amaya yesterday, including a claim he wanted to sell the boy for $70,000 in the U.S. Amaya has denied it.

Through her lawyer, Jacome said the boy made up the story and did not leave B.C.

Jacome appears in Burnaby provincial court today on the parental abduction charge and will be back in Surrey family court Thursday.

© Copyright 2001 The Province