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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
"As you know, the embassy was actively involved in
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.