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Mother fighting to get her son back from his father
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Tonight, in a Newschannel 3 exclusive, we're hearing from a mother who has spent the last three weeks battling the system to get her son back from his father.
Katlee Campbell says she allowed her 18-month old son's father to take the boy for a couple of days. After the child changed hands she says her son and his father vanished.
She's hoping her story will help other parents avoid the same situation. She's also hoping lawmakers will take another look at amber alerts.
The child was returned to his mother in Grand Rapids just hours ago, unharmed. Unfortunately it took a court order and a visit by police to the fathers last known address.
"I allowed him to go on the 5th and I told him to come back; that we'd meet at the same place on Wednesday," Campbell said.
On Wednesday, Campbell says there was no sign of her son Savion, or his father.
"I called the cops but they said they couldn't do anything," she recalled.
This was partly because National Amber Alert standards list stranger abductions as the greatest threat. It also says the child must be in imminent dangerneither could be proven in this case.
"They told me I needed to go to the court house and get legal and physical custody," Campbell said.
While working on that, she says she got a text from her son's father.
"He told me he wasn't letting me see my child because he wanted me to feel pain," Campbell said.
We pulled up Savion's father's criminal recordhe's been convicted of a half-dozen crimes, including 2nd-degree child abuse less than a year ago.
"I was worried a lot that he was not ok or he wasn't safe," Campbell said of Savion.
It didn't matter. Campbell had to spend weeks filling out documents for emergency sole custody.
"It was horrible," she said. "It was just a mess."
She received the emergency order for custody on Tuesday, and called police again, only to be told there would be no Amber Alert.
"I don't know why, they wouldn't tell me why," Campbell said. "They just said that they couldn't."
Amber Alert standards are extremely strict to insure the alerts are reliable and remain effective. But Campbell now believes there is room for improvement.
"I think they should have stepped in," she said. "I mean, it was 3 weeks of me not knowing where my child was; I had no idea."
Campbell says she ended up meeting the girlfriend of Savion's father in a parking lot in Grand Rapids to get her son back around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
She says it's not over quite yet, either. She has to go back to court to have her emergency sole custody made permanent.