Parental Abductor Melinda Thompson Arrested in Amsterdam

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September 12th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Melinda and Andrew Thompson

On September 9, 2010, law enforcement finally caught up with parental child abductor Melinda Thompson, formerly Melinda Stratton. On April 24, 2008, she had disappeared with son Andrew Thompson after leaving Australia to go to Germany on a Singapore Airlines flight from Sydney to Frankfurt. Her professed intent was to keep the boy away from his father, Ken Thompson of New South Wales, Australia. After more than a year searching for his son, in mid-2010 he traveled to Europe to do a bike tour across the continent in search for his son. He biked over 3000 miles across nine countries raising awareness of his missing son. He wore clothes covered with pictures of Andrew.

Ken discussed in an interview with BBC news about how he discovered Andrew had been found. He had stopped cycling in Germany between Nuremberg and Stuttgart to check his email. There was an anonymous message stating that Andrew had been found and Australian authorities would contact him.

Father Finds His Kidnapped Son Half A World Away

Ultimately, Stratton’s capture was due to her attempting to enroll Andrew in school in Amsterdam with an expired passport. The school principal became suspicious and checked with police, finding that there were 180 Interpol alerts for the missing boy as well as arrest warrants for Stratton.

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Melinda Is A Parental Alienator

Melinda has used false allegations of domestic violence to try to keep their son away from his father. The level of access blocking in which she has engaged is far beyond that of most parental alienators. Experts consider parental child abduction to be an unusually severe form of child abuse because it generally strips the children of all relationships other than the one with their abductor. Life on the run is already difficult, but compounding that is how the alienating and abducting parent engages in emotionally abusive behaviors such a badmouthing the other parent and his or her extended family.

Because the child has been abducted and all contact with others who know the target parent is blocked, such children are particularly susceptible to brainwashing by the alienating parent. When this happens, a child is said to suffer from parental alienation syndrome. This reflects that the alienation is so severe that the child joins in the alienation effort, even going so far as to denigrate the target parent, destroy his or her property, and even kill the parent.

As we described in our earlier article Australian Mother Commits International Child Abduction, Stratton claimed that Thompson was an unfit father because of depression and anxiety. Yet such conditions are commonplace in troubled marriages and divorces. If everybody who suffered from either was denied their rights as parents, likely most children of divorce would no longer see either of their parents.

In this case, it appears the parents were still married when the troubles started. If so, it is another example of how parental alienation can occur in marriages, before divorce is ever filed. Some of the reporting on this story refers to a divorce, but it is inconsistent. Ken Thompson still refers to Melinda as his wife and hopes she will get the help she needs to deal with the diagnosed mental health problems contributing to her alienating and abducting behaviors.

Delayed Reunification and Foster Care Common for Abducted Children

As is typical of how governments handle such cases, Ken Thompson has still not been able to see his son even days after the arrest. Andrew is now living in Dutch foster care, apart from both of his parents. Ken realizes that Andrew may be scared of him due to parental alienation from his mother.

‘One part of my mind still does not believe he’s been found,’ Ken said today. . ‘I know he has, but until I see him I can’t quite process it. So much of my life since April 2008 has been focussed on finding Andrew that now, even with the huge amount of support and public interest in his recovery, I feel a bit surreal.’

Ken met yesterday with Dutch police and other authorities to discuss how and when he might be reunited with Andrew. He said today that he is extremely reassured by the care and attention Andrew is receiving from carers and psychologists assigned to ensure that the eventual reunion is positive and the first step on the way to re-establishing the former close relationship between father and son.

‘We need to be reunited carefully,’ Ken said. ‘I don’t know quite how he will react. He may be quite frightened of me, depending on what he has been told about why he was suddenly taken from home to a vastly different life.’

This is similar to conduct seen in Canada in the Ashley Gonis child abduction case. In that case, mother Araceli Bravo illegally moved the girl across Canada to keep her from her father, Frank Gonis. When Ashley called the police for help, Bravo ended up being arrested. But Canadian authorities still would not let Frank Gonis see his daughter. They even reportedly put her in foster care rather than let them see each other.

Clearly the misery caused by parental abduction does not end with the arrest of the abductor. Andrew and Ashley and other long-term child abduction victims will need years and much loving attention and likely extensive therapy to recover from their ordeals.

Parental Child Abduction Often Occurs After Parental Alienation Is Detected

Research shows that custodial parents are more likely to engage in parental alienation. It appears that child abduction is most often committed by current or former custodial parents who engaged in parental alienation and false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. In 2008, Australia reported 120 parental kidnappings with 75% of them committed by mothers who were usually the primary custodial parents until not long before the abduction. In many cases, it appears the courts figured out the alienator is abusing the kids and the target parent and made changes to increase the time spent with the target parent. As alienators are, as a general rule, prone to emotionally abuse others to get their way, they are apt to resort to child abduction. In abductions that last many years, they are frequently able to get at least one child to believe their lies and succumb to parental alienation syndrome. A couple of other well-known child abduction cases that fit into this pattern are that of Cindy Dumas and Holly Collins.

Further Reading

Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages

Australian Mother Commits International Child Abduction

Moms Discredit Themselves by Denying Parental Alienation

Cyclist finds son after cycling more than 3000 miles (BBC news video)

Website for Finding Andrew John Thompson

Ashley Gonis to Return to Montreal, Placed in Foster Care

Araceli Bravo Arrested for Abducting Daughter Ashley Gonis

Abducted Ashley Gonis Still Can’t See Her Father

The Controversial Holly Collins Custody Case–What Really Happened?

  1. Iva Pregunta
    September 13th, 2010 at 00:12 | #1

    Melinda Stratton may escape jail for kidnapping Andrew Thompson

    Would welcome your comments.

    Her family court psychiatrist report showed she suffered from paranoia, after reading the report she skipped with the child.

    Now they are considering using the case as a guinea pig test as shown in the above article.

    So her paranoia, allegations of paedophilia against the husband wil just disappear and they will live together happily ever after? So she will get out of jail and start to plan her next abduction or even worse (if I can’t have him nobody will).

    No jail for contempt of the Australia court.

    No jail for thousands of man hours and wasting police time.

    No jail for child abuse that will stay with the child for the rest of his life.

    No example set to other abductors, gee just shake hands and go back home together.

  2. Rights for Mothers
    September 13th, 2010 at 08:08 | #2

    End the patriatrchy! No mother is a criminal for raising her own child. Alienation is a bogus label to falsely stigmatize women and children who want to be free of a MALE guardian very similar to the false mental disorder of Drapetomania given to slaves who wanted to be free from their masters. Anyone who tries to take a child from their mother is a MONSTER. Nature made mothers the natural guardian, patriarchy enslaves the women and treats the children as property.

    You slander women with every story-since when are men all “falsely accused”?

    • September 13th, 2010 at 17:32 | #3

      Rights for Mothers,

      “Alienation is a bogus label to falsely stigmatize women”…

      That is simply untrue and there are many mothers who know it because they are the targets of the alienation. Many of our readers are mothers who have faced this problem or other abuses in which their children were wrongly removed from them by the courts or CPS.

      Your comments are so extreme and irrational that they make you look like sexist and simply help to serve the agenda of the the divorce industry parasites.

      None of our writers have ever claimed that all men are falsely accused, nor that false accusations are purely the crime of women against men. It goes both ways. Family law and juvenile courts are secret star chambers in which truth and justice seldom are found. Thus false accusations are rewarded and encouraged as they benefit the powers-that-be who truly do not care who gets hurt as long as it isn’t them.

      If you’d bother to read with some understanding, you’d see that we support parental rights and getting the government out of tampering with and abusing families.

      We also support finding a way to resolve cases in which accusations of abuse are made without depriving the children of time with both parents and without devastating the family. Many of the false accusers are former victims of abusive families, some may be simply mistaken. Some are simply malicious.

      There are no winners here except for the judges, lawyers, and divorce industry parasites and their many friends who are using children and families as pawns in a game of power and money.


  3. September 13th, 2010 at 14:39 | #4

    When will victims of violence and abuse have the same rights as the perpetrator? A Mother hunted down like a dog for protecting HER child– you all seem to forget- HER CHILD!!!

  4. September 13th, 2010 at 16:17 | #5
  5. September 13th, 2010 at 18:12 | #6


    The extremist websites run by people like Claudine Dombrowski are linking to this article and complaining about how we support slavery of women as “evidenced” by reporting the woman’s name as “Melinda Thompson”.

    Note in our story on this case in 2009, we reported it as “Melinda Stratton”. She seems to have used both names. Ken Thompson appears to emphasize the Thompson name for reasons that are not clear. He also talks about forgiving her and wanting to work things out.

    Personally, I think he’s naive if he really thinks he can work out anything with Melinda given what she’s been doing for years. Perhaps he thinks he owes it to Andrew to give it one last try. Maybe that is why he keeps emphasizing the Thompson name.

    Regardless, we are not the only ones reporting using that name and we have clearly identified her using both names.

    Responding to some of the other trash being spread about us, we strongly support mothers who have been abused by the government or a malicious ex to keep them from their kids. Women don’t have an exclusive lock on being vindictive and malicious parents, we know of men who have been just as vindictive and malicious.

    We are not a “father’s rights” website.

    We have reported on stories in the past regarding mothers who have been unfairly treated by the government and courts. See our stories discussing Tonya Craft, Patricia Shope, and Eileen Lasher for examples of this.

    This website is owned by a woman who has seen exactly what the government, courts, and malicious parents who are unwilling to share their children do to children and families.

    The extremist emphasis on gender in family law detracts from solving the crisis that exists today. Mom extremists like Dombrowski and dad extremists alike both are contributing to the continuation of these problems by helping the government and courts marginalize opposition to their tyrannical behaviors that hurt children, mothers, fathers, and families as a routine matter of practice.


  6. Mad Mom
    September 13th, 2010 at 20:13 | #7

    @ Claudine Dombrowski

    Claudine is right, she is a good mom! Mothers cannot rest until dads are dead. Look what happens when they do… thoes dads hunt them and capture them!

    Kill all men! Every man has a penis, every man is a child molester!

    Children are only safe with there mothers!

  7. September 13th, 2010 at 22:16 | #8

    Parental abduction is the worst form of parental alienation and you are correct to point out that mothers are victims as often as fathers. I recently wrote about the case of a mother who recently reunited with her children 30 years after receiving a phone call that they were dead.

    Parental alienation is a mental health issue, not a gender issue.


    mike jeffries
    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

  8. Satyrical
    September 14th, 2010 at 19:09 | #9

    What a grossly ill-informed article. A case of a little knowledge being dangerous. The allegations of domestic violence have never been competently and thoroughly investigated because Australian Family Courts do not have the expertise and resources to do so. (Statement by Chief Justice Diane Bryant).

    PAS has been completely discredited worldwide as junk pseudo science presented by a psychologist who wrote about his sympathies for pedophiles and pedophile behaviour. PAS is not recognised by the relevant professional community and it is inadmissible in Australian Courts.

    Melinda Stratton has not been assessed by a competent psychiatrist as mentally ill or dangerous to her child. He appears well looked after and in good health after 6 years in her care, and the last 3 years in her sole care.

    Melinda Stratton has not broken any criminal laws (Family Law proceedings are civil matters) and she is merely in contravention of an Order of a civil court.

    I would suggest to the writer that s/he should refrain from writing with such authority on matters on which s/he so very clearly has such little knowledge.

  9. fightingfor kids rights
    September 15th, 2010 at 04:12 | #10

    Rob…shut up!!!You dont even know how our Australian justice system works…PAS IS NOT RECOGNISED HERE IN AUSTRALIA..Its creator killed himself so he didnt have to face the music in court. and we all know why sick bastard..Melinda has never been diagnosed with a mental illness by anyone except Ken Thompson and a dubious BIASED court assessor/psychologist
    Ken Thompson is/ was deputy Fire Chief in NSW …All community services employees watch each others backs..How do you know he never abused his son? How do you know he never abused Melinda?? Were you in there home watching?
    he is deranged and mentally ill ..why do I say this ?? as we say in Australia the proof is in the pudding MELINDA LEFT HIM SHE IS NOT HIS WIFE but HE KEEPS REFERRING TO HER AS HIS WIFE..HE is DELUSIONAL and Controlling…he has controlled the media thru his journalist pals..why do you think he is getting all this coverage more so than anyone else even before they were found????
    And as far as Claudine is concerned shut up you low life…you have no idea what she and her daughter have been enduring for years!!! and you wouldnt know because you wouldnt bother to find out & form an unbiased opinion because it does not agree with your sick pathetic misinformed dogma…GET OVER IT !!! and to everyone else Melinda is not going to be punished if the women, the mothers of Australia will have anything to do with it….we are all here behind you Melinda ,and Claudine and all the mothers and children who have been victimised by this modern witch hunt and inquisition

  10. September 15th, 2010 at 06:30 | #11

    @ fightingfor kids rights

    I didn’t claim Andrew suffers from PAS. I explained the distinction between PAS and parental alienation. PAS, or Parental Alienation Syndrome, refers to parental alienation that has been so severe that it causes the child to align with the alienating parent and take on similar denigrating and disrespectful behaviors. At the time the article was written, there was no indication of how son Andrew would respond to father Ken because they hadn’t seen each other in more than two years.

    As it turns out, it appears they did finally get to see each other and got along fine.

    Just because a nation doesn’t recognize a phenomenon doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    The Catholic Church heavily influenced, some may say dominated, Europe for centuries and insisted the Earth was the center of the universe. It was so vehemently opposed to any other opinion that it persecuted scientists like Galileo who believed otherwise. Was Galileo an evil man who spoke lies he “invented” claiming obvious heresies because the church said so? No, he wasn’t. The Catholic Church wasn’t even remotely close to being correct. Galileo wasn’t exactly right, either, as the sun isn’t at the center of the universe. But that idea was much closer to the truth than the Church’s geocentric view. Further, he was actually willing to entertain a reasoned debate and consider the viewpoints of others rather than labeling them as “evil” and “heretics” simply because they did not agree with him.

    Copernicus, an earlier scientist, is named by some as the originator of Galileo’s ideas on the sun, not the Earth, being at the center. But Copernicus probably was more like Richard Gardner in that he came up with a good explanation but wasn’t the first to observe, speculate, or theorize about the sun being at the center of the solar system. But he wasn’t entirely correct, either — he thought the sun was at the center of the universe, obviously not true based upon the last few hundred years of astronomical observations.

    That example is just like the dogmatic stupidity that the “parental alienation doesn’t exist” extremists promulgate.

    Your “logic” about PAS and Richard Gardner is similar to the Catholic Church’s geocentric dogma and refusal to discuss observations that don’t match your thinking.

    Gardner didn’t “invent” PAS. He came up with a theory to explain and a name to label what many other people have observed previously and since. His original theory might have some holes, just like heliocentrism had some holes in it, but that doesn’t mean there is no truth at all to it. Besides, many other people have done further research on PAS and parental alienation since Gardner’s day and have further refined the data and theories involved.

    Gardner did commit suicide, but that doesn’t have any relevance to whether his ideas are accurate or not. Van Gogh was mentally ill and committed suicide. By your reasoning that means he was a poor painter and never did anything of value. If you have any of his artwork, I’ll pay you a $1 for it to unclutter your home, OK? Great deal for you!

    There is no serious dispute about parental alienation being real, the folks deny it exists are like the Flat Earth Society. You’re trying to deceive people by bringing up controversies over PAS to deny the legitimacy of parental alienation. Odds are you don’t even have an inkling of understanding of that controversy, either, given how you have so thoroughly confused the two and seem to believe that mentally ill or troubled people can’t make legitimate observations or contribute anything of value.

    Given that you and your friends seem so intent on entirely discounting that parental alienation and PAS even occur, you destroy your own credibility. There is far too much documented evidence and far too many cases involving target parents of both genders to dismiss either as “not real” or to claim that courts should legitimately not recognize the problems can happen.

    There are many courts that recognize that PAS and parental alienation are legitimate theories that are generally accepted. See RECENT HIGHER COURT DECISIONS RE: PARENTAL ALIENATION AND PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME for more information if you can stand reading something that doesn’t agree with your narrow-minded view of the world.

    Whether either parental alienation or PAS is happening in a particular case is another matter entirely. Figuring out anything about family dynamics and problems is difficult at best. But extremist reactions like yours and your friends’ cast major doubt on your position.

    As to your other questions, I’ll split them back at you. Were you there in the home? Did you see Ken Thompson harm Melinda or Andrew? If not, how do you know what happened?

    I looked a several reports on this case before writing my article and considered my own experiences and those of people I know, mothers and fathers and children, plus other reading in the field before I arrived at my opinions on this case. Am I 100% sure I’m right? No. But if that was required before anybody were to write anything, writing would have long since gone out of style.

    If you consider your opinion “unbiased” then you’re a very deluded person. Everybody has some bias due to their life experiences and you seem to be far more biased than you realize given your poorly reasoned blanket denials.

    Claudine is probably her own worst enemy. Her moronic rhetoric about “slave names” sounds like she’s quite nutty. I know plenty of women who for whatever reason decided to take their husband’s family names after marriage and they are not slaves by any means. Some of them are the dominant partners in their relationships. Different cultures handle family names differently. There are examples of cultures that don’t use her so-called “slave names” yet are or have been even more repressive against women in the last century than anything seen in Australia or the US.

    I don’t know what Claudine has experienced and doubt you do, either. After all, were you there? Did you see it? And would you know the truth in any event even if you did see something? Given your expressed positions, I doubt you would.

  11. one of thousands
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:04 | #12

    Interesting debate–though few would recognize the vitriol of the more forceful here as legitimate “debate.” Unfortunately I’ve encountered quite a few of the more rabid “women’s rights” proponents and have often been personally attacked rather than engaged in legitimate discussion. I’d suggest that each of us focus on issues rather than gender stereotypes. Otherwise you become a poster child for the prejudices/biases of the opposite sex. Trust me ladies–you’re not doing yourselves any favors here.

    One point: There is much debate about whether PAS is truly a “syndrome.” It is not recognized in the DSM IV and not accepted as a “scientifically accepted” “syndrome” by many governments. And for good reason.

    A “syndrome” implies a mental condition within the child–an illness or mental deficiency. I tend to agree that in most cases children who are victims of parental “coaching” or have been exposed to consistent stream of negative comments about the “target parent” do not experience a “syndrome.” It’s not their own mental illness or deficiency. Most kids exposed to such behaviors are likely perfectly normal, but just influenced by harmful parental behaviors. These parental behaviors often cause children to adopt their parent’s perspective of the other parent–often negative opinions, etc. It’s extremely unfair to the target parent and harmful to the child.

    But a “syndrome”? In most cases it probably rarely rises to the level of causing some mental incapacity or disorder. A parent who is making bad choices to influence the child to favor him/her and dislike the target parent is certainly making a mistake as the child’s opinion of the target parent will eventually inevitably reflect back onto the child’s own perspective of him/her self. Thus, a parent speaking negatively about an ex is effectively harming the child. That’s abuse. That’s irresponsible. That’s morally wrong. But probably not a “syndrome.”

    The discussion shouldn’t be focussed on whether or not PAS is a “syndrome” or belongs in the DSM IV etc., but on educating parents about how negative comments and interference harms their own child. If necessary, alienating parents should receive education about why and how to separate their own (perhaps justifiable, perhaps not–doesn’t really matter) negative attitudes and emotions toward an ex-spouse from their own relationship with their child. Resistance to acknowledging the need to separate one’s emotions towards an ex from the child’s relationship demonstrates a psychological dysfunction.

    If parents are told “beating your child is bad” yet continued to beat their children, everyone would agree that parent has a problem that must be addressed. Yet even though virtually every psychologist agrees that criticizing the other parent in front of the child harms the child, many parents continue to alienate. I find that extraordinarily bizarre.

    Whether you call it a “syndrome” or just “behavior that harms your child” is irrelevant. The most important point is that we all recognize that children do not belong at the center of a propaganda war between parents, and that parents who continue such behavior with full knowledge of this fact are abusers who need help. Plain and simple.

    Good luck parents–love your children, and let them love both parents.

  12. Aussie whacko women
    September 16th, 2010 at 06:09 | #13

    I am relieved.

    I was under the impression that the U.S.A had the whackiest women on earth.

    From a few of the extremist comments by angry, hateful women on this thread, it appears the U.S.A. may be #2.

    Looks like our Aussie Friends have to deal with even angrier, more hateful women.

    It’s a shame. Hate does not heal anything. It just makes you go to Hell.

  13. September 16th, 2010 at 22:20 | #14

    @ one of thousands
    One of Thousands,

    Thanks for further discussing the debate on the use of the term “syndrome”.

    I’d characterize it as simply a debate over where the dividing line that denotes “syndrome” level parental alienation should be. The Rick Lohstroh case in which his alienated son shot and killed him with a gun supplied by his mother in my mind is a clear case where “syndrome” applies.

    While the extremists go on about how Australia doesn’t recognize PAS, we would do well to recognize that PAS bears a strong resemblance to the “Lost Generation” of government-backed destruction of aboriginal families in which the Australian government took children from their families in what appears to be a plan to eradicate the culture and to commit genocide. There is no doubt in my mind that this was systematic child abuse conducted by a government. It also appears to be a form of child slavery. This practice only ended in 1969. But apparently many of these nutty moms think that taking children from a parent is still a good practice.

    It is clear that many countries consider parental alienation a serious abuse against children. For instance, Brazil has recently outlawed parental alienation.


  14. September 19th, 2010 at 19:24 | #15

    Rights for Mothers – saying mothers are natural caretakers is sexist. You’re attributing one characteristic to all members of a sex. I don’t care if you were trying to be complementary; it’s still sexism.

  15. Iva Pregunta
    December 31st, 2010 at 05:51 | #16

    The original post was that she had been arrested for parental abduction. That is not strictly correct. Their case was before the Family Court. She did not like her court appointed shrink report she was provided. She took the child out of Australia without the court nor the father’s consent. Read the Law – it is quite clear. She would have been apprehended for contempt of court in breach of this law.
    FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 – SECT 65Z
    Obligations if proceedings for the making of certain parenting orders are pending
    (1) If proceedings (the Part VII proceedings ) for the making of a parenting order to which this Subdivision applies are pending, a person who is a party to the proceedings, or who is acting on behalf of, or at the request of, a party, must not take or send the child concerned from Australia to a place outside Australia except as mentioned in subsection (2).
    Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.
    Note: The ancillary offence provisions of the Criminal Code , including section 11.1 (attempts), apply in relation to the offence created by subsection (1).
    (2) Subsection (1) does not prohibit taking or sending the child from Australia to a place outside Australia if:
    (a) it is done with the consent in writing (authenticated as prescribed) of each other party to the Part VII proceedings; or
    (b) it is done in accordance with an order of a court made, under this Part or under a law of a State or Territory, after the institution of the Part VII proceedings.
    Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2) (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code ).

  16. Ave verum
    May 13th, 2011 at 10:03 | #17

    Who’s telling the truth in this case? Melinda’s referred to as being “paranoid” yet those who know her know she isn’t, wasn’t and never has been. Is it possible that a story was fabricated by her husband and that he was aided and abetted by the court psychiatrist? Let’s hope the truth comes out in court. Many statements have been made about Melinda by people who have never met her and have no idea that integrity is one of her most impressive characteristics. That she would have attempted to influence her son by telling him his father was evil – without any evidence – would not be in character at all. She discovered what had happened to her child because she and those around him at that time noticed his extremely abnormal behaviour. By writing a manipulative blog, her husband managed to win over thousands of people around the globe. We’d be better off questioning to what extent he fed the masses with truth – or lies.

  1. September 13th, 2010 at 12:46 | #1
  2. September 13th, 2010 at 12:50 | #2
  3. September 13th, 2010 at 16:23 | #3

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