Dad in Brazil custody battle testifies in D.C.

December 22, 2009 2:12:06 PM PST
A father from New Jersey in the middle of a heartbreaking international custody battle is taking his fight to Congress. David Goldman has been fighting to get his 9-year-old son Sean back from Brazil for more than five years. On Wednesday, he testified, pleading for tougher legislation.

"I pray my personal tragedy will end soon," Goldman said.

He is pleading for help.

"We need our children home," he said. "My child needs to come home."

Goldman and other so-called "left behind parents" testified in Washington in front a bi-partisan Congressional commission on human rights. The panel is working on strengthening U.S. enforcement of international child abduction treaties.

"It should never have come to this for Mr. Goldman or other families," New Jersey Assemblyman Rush Holt said.

According to the testimony, right now, the state department is working on about 2,000 cases of 3,000 children abducted from the U.S. or wrongfully detained abroad.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking," Michael Elias said.

Elias, a Bergen County correction officer, says he is living a nightmare. The former Marine says almost exactly a year ago, his wife, who is Japanese, conspired with another man and took the couple's two young children to Japan.

He hasn't seen them since.

"Everywhere I turned to, it's concrete walls," he said. "You feel like nobody can help you."

It's a feeling David Goldman says he knows all too well. Five years after his wife took Sean from New Jersey against his wishes, he's still fighting to get the child back. The battle continues, even after the sudden death of his wife last year.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues: "You were sitting next to a gentleman who has waited 14 years. Is that discouraging?"
Goldman: "Absolutely. Absolutely."

The court of appeals in Brazil is expected to make a ruling on the case soon. But after such a long fight, Goldman says he is not getting his hopes up.