A DESPERATE Scots father is battling to get his daughter back after his “internet” ex-wife took the girl to the US– and vowed never to return.
John Pilsworth met Rachel on the internet and the estranged couple have a nine-year-old daughter, Baelii.
The girl from Cockburnspath, Scottish Borders, and her mother travelled to Independence,Missouri, just before Christmas for a holiday.
But a stunned John, 34, was devastated when he received a call on New Year’s Eve from his estranged wife declaring that she did not plan to return toScotland.
Rachel, 27, is said to have resigned from her job at a tourist attraction in North Berwick, East Lothian, telling her local paper she was acting in the best interests of her daughter and would remain in theUS.
John, and parents Lynne and Michael Regan, were expecting Baelii to return from her “holidays” on January 2.
John said: “I agreed Rachel could take Baelii to the US for two weeks for a holiday. Baelii really wanted to go and I didn’t want to be selfish or have her resent me later on for not letting her have a holiday. The last time I spoke to Baelii was on New Year’s Eve when I called to chat to her, and she was telling me she had bought a pet fish and called it Sparkle. I wondered how she was going to be able to bring a fish back home with her but didn’t say much about it.
“Then 10 minutes later, Rachel dropped the bombshell that they weren’t going to be coming back.
“It was the worst piece of information I have ever received in my life.”
Baelii, a pupil at Cockburnspath Primary, was born in the US and lived with her parents inKansas before moving to the Scottish Borders.
According to John, in May 2006, Rachel signed two documents agreeing that John could take Baelii back to the UK to live with his parents.
Five months later, Rachel travelled to Scotland and the estranged couple made a brief attempt to reconcile.
John claims that when they divorced in 2010, it was agreed that he would keep custody of Baelii, with Rachel having three days’ access a week.
Rachel, in an interview with her local paper, claimed she had not been receiving her full rights to see Baelli.
She said: “It was an incredibly hard decision but this is the best life for my daughter and that is all I care about.
“My ex-husband is a 34-year-old man who lives with his parents. I know I am the best person to raise our daughter.”
John plans to apply to the Scottish Government to arrange for the return of his daughter under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their “prompt” return.
But it is a lengthy process and could take months if contested by Rachel.
The family received an email on Saturday from Baelii via her mother’s account.
Part of the email message reads: “Mommy checks her email nearly every day and will let me know when you have messaged me.”
John claimed: “We’ve all been deleted from Baelii’s friends on Facebook since she’s been over there.”
He said he had launched a Facebook page – “Bring Baelii Back” – and intends to get in touch with his MP to speed his daughter’s return.
John said: “The day that Baelii was born was the happiest day of my life.
“All I want is my baby back. I’m not going to give up.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman confirmed that they had been made aware of the situation.
However the case is being treated as a “civil matter” and is not subject to a criminal investigation.