An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Friday, July 18, 2008, Vol. 8, No. 142

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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.

Father of abducted girl says he just wants to hear her again
By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A father who remembers a daughter who loved riding roller coasters and sharing school lunches with her dad just wants to hear his child's voice again, he said Thursday.

When his baby was born, she was premature and only about four pounds, said Roger Cyprian. “I went out and bought a Cabbage Patch Doll. We dressed her in doll clothes because regular newborn clothes didn't fit her,” said Cyprian.

After 11 years Roger Cyprian said he has no idea what his daughter's voice sounds like. And after the Sala IV constitutional court suspended the extradition of  Chere Lyn Tomayko, his daughter's mother, Thursday, he worries his daughter Alexandria Camille Cyprian may never hear his side of the story.

“Money, revenge is not my goal,” said Cyprian. The father, a nurse in Texas said he would be happy just to talk to Alexandria even if he never sees her again.“My main goal is to at least get my daughter to know that her father loves her.”

Cyprian recently contacted a lawyer in Costa Rica after television stations and newspapers reported statements that he had abused Ms. Tomayko. “She's been manipulating the media,” said the lawyer, Juan Carlos Esquivel Favareto. After things are settled with the extradition, the lawyer and Cyprian will analyze the case to see whether legal actions are in order, said Esquivel.

Cyprian, who does not speak Spanish, has written La Nación and Jeannette Carrillo Madrigal, executive president of the women's institute.  Ms. Carrillo  said publicly that believes the abuse charges. No one has contacted Cyprian to hear his side of the story, he said.  

At a impromptu press event Wednesday night, Alexandria, her older half-sister Chandler  and their mother's husband, Javier Francisco Montero Umaña, refused to talk to A.M. Costa Rica.

Ms. Tomayko was never able to prove the allegations of abuse in the Texas court. Ms. Tomayko also alleged that Cyprian had sexually abused the girls, he said. After medical tests on both girls, the court found these allegations were false, according to Cyprian, who added that Ms. Tomayko was not able to produce a single friend or witness who confirmed the abuse charges. Cyprian said he produced about 15 witnesses to support his defense.

During their relationship, the two parents only lived in the same home for one month, said Cyprian. That was when Cyprian's mother came up from New Orleans to help care for Ms. Tomayko and baby Alexandria, he said.

The Tarrant County District Court court gave the parents joint custody in December of 1996. Four months later Ms. Tomayko fled the country, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

When asked if they had contacted the Texas courts, Maritza Aguilar, a lawyer on the defense team for Ms. Tomayko, said they had not.

Esquivel said the case must be settled in a Texas court not in a Costa Rican court. “They can't prove here if her story is true or isn't true. It has to be decided in the United
Cyprian and girls
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
Roger Cyprian in happier times, with his ex- girlfriend's daughter Chandler and his daughter, Alexandria, who now is 19.

States.” A judge in Texas already ruled against Ms. Tomayko, said Esquivel, and the Costa Rican court can not overturn that ruling. “The family is doing everything they can to hold off the extradition,” said  Esquivel.

A habeas corpus filing this week by the Defensa Pública claims that Ms. Tomayko is a Costa Rican citizen. Esquivel said that is not possible. First someone who is wanted by authorities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cannot obtain Costa Rican citizenship, he said. Second, Ms. Tomayko was married in April. The Constitution says a foreign woman must be married to a Tico for at least two years before expressing her desire to become a citizen.

Ms. Tomayko's lead public defender never returned a reporter's call, although Ms. Aguilar, who said she was on the legal team, answered a few questions. As to why Ms. Tomayko is claiming citizenship with only two three months of marriage when the Constitution clearly states two years, Ms. Aguilar said that lawyers would defend the possibility of citizenship later.

“Whose right were damaged here? the kids,” said Esquivel, “They never had the right to see their father.” Although Chandler is not his child, Cyprian said for many years he acted as the father in her life.

“I just want a relationship with my oldest daughter,” said Cyprian who has since married and has three younger children. “I want her to hear my side of the story, but at this point I'm not sure she ever will.”

A spokeswoman for the courts said that the Sala IV would consider the various last-minute appeals over five days. In addition to an appeal from the Defensa Pública, Ms. Carrillo of the Instituto Nacional de Mujeres and the Defensoría de los Habitantes also filed appeals Wednesday. The family of Ms. Tomayko embarked on a public relations campaign to prevent her extradition.

Another element that the court will consider is that she had two children by Montero during her time as a fugitive here.