By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The mother of three Cherokee children who allegedly kidnapped them and took them to Mexico has been formally indicted on kidnapping charges. Arrested and taken into custody in June, Shira Elizabeth Mattocks, 27, aka Shira Elizabeth Raman, was indicted on three counts of International Parental Kidnapping in a Bill of Indictment filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, July 19.
After her arrest last month in Mexico, a 10-page Criminal Complaint was filed against Ms. Mattocks which stated, “there is probable cause that Shira Elizabeth Mattocks violated Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1204, i.e., International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 – at some point after November 14, 2014, when she fled to Mexico from the U.S. in an effort to evade her child custody responsibilities.”
Ms. Mattocks is currently in federal custody and will have her arraignment hearing before Magistrate Judge Dennis Howell on Wednesday, July 27 at 9:40am at the Federal Courthouse (Courtroom 2) at 100 Otis St. in Asheville.
The Criminal Complaint alleges that Ms. Mattocks had child custody disputes with two men – Jonathan Reed Mattocks, the father of Evelyn (now almost 2), and Donald “Donny” James Owle, the father of James (now 10) and Samuel (now 7). The Complaint alleges that Donald Owle dropped off James and Samuel to their grandmother, Teresa Arneach Arreaga (Teresa), aka Teresa Lovins, in Cherokee on Nov. 14, 2014.
“That was the last time Donald ever saw his children,” the Complaint alleges. “In accordance with the custody agreement, they were supposed to retrieve J.O. and S.O. the upcoming Sunday (November 16, 2014), but neither Teresa nor Shira showed up.”
The Complaint went on to say that Cherokee Indian Police Department officers contacted various members of Ms. Mattocks family in an effort to locate her and the children. “According to CIPD Detectives, those family members indicated they knew where Shira and the missing children were, but they (family members) were confrontational and not helpful. The CIPD investigation began to yield indicators that Shira and Teresa had fled the United States (U.S.) to Mexico…”
Shortly thereafter, charges were filed in Tribal Court against Ms. Mattocks including one count of Failure to Obey a Lawful Court Order and two counts of Custodial Interference.
Teresa Arneach was arrested at Ms. Mattock’s residence in Cherokee on May 27, 2015. Charges were filed in Tribal Court against her including two counts of Criminal Conspiracy, two counts of Custodial Interference, and one count of Failure to Obey a Lawful Order of the Court. The One Feather reported that those charges were Dismissed with Leave to Refile on March 9, 2016.
The Complaint states that Arneach’s phone was seized upon her arrest by CIPD officers. “A tribal search warrant was obtained and certain data was exploited from the phone which further validated CIPD officers’ belief that Shira had fled to Mexico. According to CIPD Detectives who reviewed the phone, there were text messages reflecting communications via a phone number which appeared to be a number from Mexico. The text messages indicated Shira was near Tamazula, Mexico.”
CIPD officers contacted the FBI in June 2015 and requested their assistance, and on July 2, 2015 an international parental kidnapping case was opened by the Bureau.
In October 2015, FBI officials interviewed Maria Arias Negrete, the mother of Jose Arias who is the ex-husband of Arneach. She allegedly told them that Ms. Mattocks and the three children were staying near her home in Tamazula, Jalisco, Mexico. “At some point, around the middle of 2015, Maria personally observed Shira and her three children temporarily residing in the area of Maria’s home residence…” the Complaint alleges. “While there, Shira was living with Maria’s grandson, David Villa Rivera, with whom Shira had developed some type of intimate relationship.”
Starting in March 2016, a confidential source began an investigation and tracked Ms. Mattocks and Rivera whereabouts through interviews with various family members of Rivera in Mexico.