For immediate distribution
Pearl Rose Gavaghan Da Massa
Missing Since 2008 is Reunited With Her Father!
Montreal, September 27, 2011 - Thanks to the observant eye of a stranger in Montreal, a 7 year old girl from Manchester, England has been reunited with her father. The Missing Children's Network and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection made the announcement today, following Mr. Henry Da Massa and daughter Pearl's safe return home yesterday morning.
Pearl Rose and her mother were last seen back on December 8, 2008 when the mom picked up her daughter from her Manchester (England) nursery school and fled the country in defiance of a court order that granted both parents shared custody. On September 16th, a very relieved but ecstatic father received the wonderful news that Montreal Police discovered Pearl when the mother was arrested following suspicious behavior reported by a concerned citizen. The police check confirmed that they were living in Montreal under assumed names. A more in-depth investigation by police and Immigration Canada officials revealed that the mother was the object of an international child abduction hunt.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (MissingKids.ca) had been working closely with Henry for almost 2 years, supporting him and assisting in the search for Pearl. "I would like to extend my thanks to the dedicated team at MissingKids.ca who provided ongoing support to me throughout this ordeal", said Da Massa. Christy Dzikowicz, Director of MissingKids.ca would like to thank all those who assisted in the search for Pearl. "It is critical that Canadians keep missing children's stories in the public eye. We are grateful to all of our partners for all their efforts in ensuring that the search for Pearl stayed strong. MissingKids.ca is so proud of our partnership with the Missing Children's Network, who immediately stepped in and provided this family with the support necessary for a successful reunification."
Upon arrival in Montreal, Mr. Da Massa immediately began working with the Missing Children's Network and the reunification process with his daughter began. On Wednesday, September 21, the moment that Henry Da Massa had been dreaming of was finally here ... he saw his little girl for the first time in nearly three years! On Sunday night, Mr. Da Massa and his daughter Pearl boarded a flight and returned home to England.
"I would like to thank the Missing Children's Network for their invaluable assistance in the delicate matter of ensuring Pearl's safe-keeping and ensuring excellent communication between the countless departments and agencies involved in returning Pearl to England in the most sensitive way possible under the circumstances. The Missing Children's Network provided immeasurable support to both Pearl and I during an incredibly complex series of events and were ultimately the hinge around which the entire matter turned." said Da Massa.
"The Missing Children's Network would like to thank the gentleman who placed the 9-1-1- call to authorities," said Pina Arcamone, Director General. "This person was sitting next to the mother and daughter and observed rather unusual behavior between them. When they stepped off the subway, he decided to follow them and as his concerns grew, he placed that one important call. Thanks to his vigilance, Henry's nightmare is finally over!"
The Missing Children's Network and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection wish to extend their thanks and appreciation to the following partners who worked so diligently to make this reunification possible: The Montreal Police Service, Immigration Canada, Central Authority in Quebec and the UK, Batshaw Social Services, Me Sonia Heyeur, Dr. Luc Morin, Manchester Police and the RCMP.
About the Missing Children's Network:
Founded in 1985, the Missing Children's Network is the only non-profit organization in Quebec that provides front-line services to families who are searching for their missing child. Our staff accompanies, supports and counsels these families by working collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, other child search organizations, as well as the media. In addition, the Missing Children's Network offers comprehensive educational and prevention programs designed especially for children, parents and professionals.
The Missing Children's Network works in collaboration with law enforcement agencies in the province, is a recognized partner of the Our Missing Children's program, and is also a member of the Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations (AMECO). As well, the Missing Children's Network is proud to work in collaboration with Missingkids.ca to provide case management support to Francophone parents/guardians searching for their missing child.
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection:
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children. Our goal is to reduce child victimization by providing programs and services to Canadians. We do this through public awareness activities, our personal safety education program (kidsintheknow.ca), our national tipline to report online sexual abuse of children (Cybertip.ca), our program to help organizations prevent child sexual abuse (commit2kids.ca), and our national missing children resource centre (MissingKids.ca).
If you are a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with one of our spokespeople please contact our communications team:
Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection