Man charged with custody violation seen in Ala.

FBI, police seek father, daughters in five states

October 01, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A man who is charged with abducting his children from Europe in violation of a Dutch custody order was spotted this week leaving a rental cabin outside Mobile, Ala., after he tried to enroll his two daughters in a local school, the FBI and the Baltimore County police confirmed yesterday.

Christopher Yavelow has been the target of an FBI and police manhunt in five states since he was seen visiting his parents in Towson and Timonium four weeks ago. He eluded the FBI once again Wednesday after checking out of a cabin in Fairhope, Ala., a community of 12,000 on Mobile Bay.

Mobile FBI spokesman Ray Zicarelli said Yavelow was spotted about noon on Wednesday after an article appeared in a local newspaper about the search. He said the girls appeared to be fine.

Baltimore County Detective Janet Ensor said Yavelow and his two daughters, Celina Yavelow, 13, and Stephanie Yavelow, 10, have since left that area. Yavelow was driving an overdue rental car with Massachusetts license plates.

A warrant for the 49-year-old Harvard-educated composer and computer programmer was issued in Baltimore County Sept. 13, charging him with parental child abduction. The FBI also issued a warrant after he left Maryland.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge John O. Hennegan signed an order honoring the Dutch custody order obtained earlier this year by Yavelow's estranged wife, Monique Fasel. She has been in Maryland to find her daughters since her husband failed to return the girls from a European vacation at the end of August. Police and Fasel said they believe Yavelow brought the girls on the liner Queen Elizabeth II from England to Maine.

Although both parents and their children live outside Amsterdam, Yavelow is a U.S. citizen and grew up in Towson.

On Monday, a man claiming to be Yavelow called a Sun reporter at about 10: 15 p.m. to say that the Dutch court order giving his wife custody of their daughters "is false. The manhunt is based on false documents." He refused to identify his whereabouts, but said his daughters were safe. He said he was about to get a lawyer to come to Towson to straighten out the misunderstanding.

He said the children wanted to be with him. "They are American citizens, they want to go to American schools and have American friends. They do not want to be with their mother."

Fasel and police spokesman Bill Toohey appeared on CBS "This Morning" to publicize the case. Zicarelli, the Mobile FBI spokesman, said that because of the publicity, "a number of people have called in to the FBI and Fairhope police with information." He said Yavelow is using the name "Johnson", which was his last name before he changed it several years ago.

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