Peruvian custody battle brewing for missing B.C. woman’s children
This is the second part in a three-part series about a B.C. woman who has gone missing in Peru and her family’s fight to find out what happened to her. See the first part here.
After five anxious months of no contact, Al Kasatkin’s worry was finally set free when he saw his grandchildren.
“I wanted to set eyes on the children to ensure that they’re actually here in the country…that actually did occur,” said Al with a smile. “It’s wonderful when they go, ‘Abuelo [grandfather]!’ And they come running. And there’s a hug. That was very enjoyable.”
The Kasatkins’ concern for the children’s safety is urgent because their mother, Al Kasatkin’s daughter Kimberlee, is believed to be dead. Her partner, Christopher Franz Bettocchi, is accused of killing her. His whereabouts remain unknown.
The children are in Lima, Peru, a city of 10-million people. They are with Bettocchi’s mother.
WATCH: Global BC travels to Peru to probe case of missing B.C. woman
Monica Bettocchi would not open the door when Global News visited her home. No entry either for Al’s wife Kathy, because she’s not the children’s biological grandmother. Al said he was not allowed to bring a Spanish-language interpreter or be alone with his grandchildren.
“This has escalated everything. I told her, ‘Be prepared for a battle,’” Al said with frustration.
Al and Kathy are fighting for custody. They believe the children’s future is in B.C.
Luz Helena García is the Kasatkins’ family lawyer in Lima.
“The Peruvian situation and the knowledge of this case, I think that the better environment will be in Canada. They will have better education, peace and also their family with them,” said Garcia.
The kids are attending private school in Lima. The director of the school refused to meet with Global News.
WATCH: (Aired Nov. 1) Man accused of killing B.C. woman in Peru contacts Global BC
A parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told Global News the kids are struggling, especially the oldest. The parent said violent outbursts are a concern, adding the child was recently approached by a student who made shocking comments.
After four months of hearing evidence, a Peruvian court has made a decision. The custody trial will proceed, but a date has not been set.
Helena García said she believes there’s an 80 per cent chance “the kids will travel to Canada to live.”
Family in B.C. are eagerly awaiting the outcome – including the children’s half-brother and half-sister and many cousins.
“I think it’s best, take them to Canada, we’re offering visitation to the grandparents, let them come to Canada and visit them,” Al said.
One thing is certain, gaining custody will be a battle. Al and Kathy say their resolve is fortified, no matter how long it takes. They already lost their daughter. They’re determined not to lose their grandchildren too.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.