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American Father Still Held by Gushikawa Police for Alleged Abduction of Daughter

By: Julio Barthson

Date Posted: 2000-01-28

An American citizen who was placed on detention last Thursday, January 20th by the Okinawa Police, for allegedly kidnapping his own 3-year-old daughter, is still presently being held at the Gushikawa Police station. Sources close to the detained suspect, Leroy Leon Barto, a 36-year-old civilian employee at Kadena Air Base, told Japan Update that he is being treated well in his jail cell, and seems to be in good spirits.

The man is being held while an investigation is being conducted. According to Mr. Bartoís attorney, the man has been interviewed by the Naha Prosecutor's Office on several occasions. However, both lawyer and client have indicated that they would make no comments on the specifics of the case until the investigation is completed.

Barto was arrested after he reportedly picked his daughter from a day-care center on Wednesday the 19th, without the motherís permission, and flew with her to Osaka from where he would have taken an international flight heading for the United States. Barto and his Japanese wife divorced two years ago, and she has custody of the children. As soon as the ex-wife learnt that Barto had picked up the daughter, she contacted the police, reporting her suspicion that the man was taking the daughter away to America. She rushed to Naha Airport, but it was too late to meet the ex-husband who had already left for Osaka. The Police did a little check to determine that he was in Osaka. He was arrested there and brought back to Okinawa the same night.

According to Japanese law, an individual can be held for up to 23 days in custody. By the 23rd day, the person must be either indicted or released. The Prosecutor must have decided by then if the suspect should be indicted or not. Otherwise, he or she must be released.

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