Father accused of abduction is released on bond in Texas

October 28, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Harvard-educated composer charged in Baltimore County with abducting his children, was ordered released on bond from a Houston jail yesterday -- surprising a Baltimore County prosecutor who had hoped to bring the man here under guard to avoid repeating his two-month flight from the FBI.

Christopher Yavelow, 49, who was arrested Oct. 21, was given a $25,000 bond yesterday by a Harris County, Texas, judge, said his Houston attorney and a Baltimore County prosecutor.

"I'm disappointed that he's getting out. My concern is that he will not appear for a hearing and be held accountable for what he did," said Deputy State's Attorney Howard B. Merker, who plans to try Yavelow on parental child abduction charges that could bring a one-year sentence.

Susan Elgin, a Towson lawyer for Yavelow's estranged wife, also expressed concern about Yavelow's release.

"Here's a man who has shown no respect for authority or to court orders. I have nothing to believe there is hope he's going to show up," she said.

Edward Mallett, Yavelow's Houston lawyer, said concern that his client might flee again are unfounded and that his client "will present himself upon request" in Baltimore County District Court.

"This is a prominent person. He's written eight books. He's not going to go live under a bridge somewhere."

Yavelow, who grew up in Baltimore County, was charged here after being seen in the Towson area with his children shortly after bringing them to the United States from Europe.

Accused of violating a Dutch custody order giving his estranged wife temporary custody, Yavelow led police and the FBI on a two-month manhunt halfway across the United States. He corresponded by e-mail with Merker before he was caught in Houston at the home of a friend.

Mallett said Yavelow has been wrongly accused and is the victim in the custody dispute with Monique Fasel over their children, Celina Yavelow, 13, and Stephanie Yavelow, 11. Fasel, who has been given full custody of the children by a Dutch court, returned to the Netherlands with them this week.

Mallett also accused Fasel of "rekidnapping" the children and committing "the very crime for which Mr. Yavelow has been arrested and held in jail in Texas for five days."

Yavelow's lawyer described his client as a Christian trying to keep his daughters away from Fasel because she allegedly practices witchcraft.

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