An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Vol. 7, No. 212 

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Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170).  Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
U.S. Embassy needs an independent investigation

By James J. Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

The Chere Lyn Tomayko case is troubling because it appears that U.S. Embassy personnel obstructed justice and kept U.S. law enforcement officials from finding out where the fugitive was living in Costa Rica. For at least five years.

Wednesday we published parts of a letter from the consul general at the U.S. Embassy. He said that it was irresponsible and incorrect of us to suggest that racial prejudice might have been a factor in why the embassy hid the location of Ms. Tomayko.

Our question is how did the consul general,  David R. Dreher, know? There have been no signs of an investigation, and he was not around then. We think the diplomat is blowing smoke.

Ms. Tomayko was the woman who faces a federal indictment alleging child kidnapping because she took a daughter from Texas in 1997 to Costa Rica.

She was a poster girl for the crime and ended up on the F.B.I. most wanted list because of the politics of the time.

Except at the U.S. Embassy.

We reported that A.M. Costa Rica, on behalf of readers, revealed the location of Ms. Tomayko to the embassy in 2002, and nothing happened.

We have no ill will toward Ms. Tomayko, and we think that the child involved, Alexandria, has grown into the kind of daughter that would make any parent proud. But we regret that the father in Fort Worth, Texas, has spent $40,000 and years of effort to know about his daughter.
At the very least, court decisions should be respected, and Ms. Tomayko has not done this. She fled and appears to have committed the crime of which she is accused.

We think that embassy personnel deliberately stonewalled the investigation until Miss Tomayko reached 18 so that she would not have to be returned to her father, who is black. She turned 18 in July and her mother was detained in September.

Mr.  Dreher said that race was not a factor. We could accept that if there were an investigation. Perhaps an investigation would reveal that embassy workers were not prejudice but totally

Or maybe an investigation would show that Ms. Tomayko got special treatment because she was a woman. U.S. men fleeing with minor children are picked up routinely.

Or maybe the reason was much worse.

Dreher needs to excuse himself from any further involvement in this, and Ambassador Mark Langdale, also from Texas, ought to demonstrate that the oath he took was something more than a way to make lots of business contacts overseas. He should order a rigorous, independent investigation.

One problem, of course, is that U.S. citizens involved in the case in 2002 have gone on to higher positions in the U.S. State Department. Does anyone have the guts to question them? Or maybe the fault lies in the Costa Rica support staff at the embassy. It is important to find out if disregard of U.S. law still is a problem.

This is a criminal matter.

What we said in 2003:

But consider the case of Chere Lyn Tomayko, the only parental kidnapping suspect on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list. She is known in the Heredia area, and had been living there under her own name. Her daughter is Alexandria Camille Cyprian, who was with her mother when she fled in May 1997.

When A.M. Costa Rica published her photo in May 2002, both the newspaper and a high official in the U.S. Embassy were informed of the situation. The woman still is on the F.B.I. list, and the embassy stonewalled the status by saying the case is an active investigation.
What Dreher said:

"As you know, the embassy was actively involved in looking for Alexandria in 2001, based on information you provided.  Unfortunately, the information did not result in the discovery and apprehension of the abducting parent Chere Tomayko.  In 2002, we received additional information alleging that Ms. Tomayko was in Costa Rica.  Once again, the information was investigated but did not lead to her location.  The case remained dormant, with no new leads until last year.