28 August 2010

Andrew Thompson 'Where is he?' / Found * updated 9.9.10


Happy days: (Inset) Andrew Thompson at home with his father Ken; and (below) with his mum Melinda Thompson, before she disappeared with her son.

He rides a pushbike across Europe, a picture of a child’s face on his shirt. Ken Thompson is on a remarkable journey in search of his missing son and he will never give up, writes MILES GODFREY


Thompson began showing the first signs of mental illness.

The symptoms were subtle at first. But they progressed, manifesting themselves in paranoia and false beliefs about various people, including Mr Thompson.

“I didn’t realise it at the time, but it started slowly and just escalated, it was terrible,” Mr Thompson said this week from Germany. By December 2007, his wife had been diagnosed by one of Australia’s leading psychiatrists as having a paranoia disorder.

She left the family home on January 1, 2008. And then, aware of the psychiatrist’s report and fearing she would lose access to her son, fled Australia on April 24, abducting Andrew, then 3.

The Australian Federal Police issued a warrant for her arrest and together with Interpol managed to trace her to Frankfurt. But there the trail quickly ran cold.

“I just didn’t know what to do,” Mr Thompson said.

“I had a job that carried with it a great amount of responsibility, but which I could no longer do properly. I couldn’t concentrate.”

So he took early retirement and began to plot a way to find his son. A close family friend, who does not want to be named, picks up the story.

“He was sitting in Australia as the police did as much as they could,” she said. “But it got to the point where he thought, ‘Well what can I do?’

“And he knew he could cycle.

“I don’t think he’ll mind me saying this, but he wasn’t the fittest person in the world at that point and he’d suffered a bout of pneumonia in 2008 that he’d had to fight back from.

“He had been under tremendous stress because of it all.”

By that point the Family Court of Australia had granted an order lifting a ban on Andrew’s name being published, to aid the search.

So Mr Thompson got himself fit, organised a bike, set up a website, got a cycling shirt printed with Andrew’s face on it and set off for Europe. His plan was to cycle across the continent, searching for his wife and child.

He landed in London in early May this year, just in time for International Missing Children’s Day on May 25.

There he met British woman Kate McCann, mother of Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal. The case remains the highest-profile missing persons case in the world.

Then Mr Thompson’s real work began. After cycling to northern England to spread the word about Andrew, Mr Thompson pedalled south, crossed into northern France, and cycled east through Belgium, Luxembourg and into Germany.

He visited Frankfurt and other German locations where Ms Thompson may have been hiding, before moving north again to the Netherlands. There he handed a letter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, signed by about 70 families of missing children, calling on the United Nations to update its 30-year-old conventions on child abduction.

Many people might consider stopping here and heading back to Australia. But Mr Thompson pedalled back to Hamburg and Berlin, to Poland and then back to Germany. On Wednesday he spoke to AAP from Zittau, on the Czech Republic-German border. He now plans to cycle to Prague, then to Switzerland and south to Spain, Italy and beyond as the northern winter draws in.

All the time he’ll be looking for Andrew, looking for his wife and highlighting the plight of missing persons everywhere. When will he stop? “I don’t know. I’ll keep going as long as I can,” he said.

“I’ll do whatever it takes. He’s my son. I’m responsible for him.

For further information or if you can help find Andrew, visit Mr Thompson’s website: findandrew.com

in (Australian) The Weekend Post, page 36 - 28 Aug 2010 paper edition only


Information

Present family name: THOMPSON
Birth name: THOMSPON
Forename: ANDREW JOHN
Sex: MALE
Date of birth: 19 August 2004 (6 years old)
Place of birth: ST. LEONARDS, SYDNEY, Australia
Nationality: Australia
Father's family name & forename: THOMPSON
Mother's maiden name & forename: STRATTON
Height: 1.50 meter <-> 59 inches
Weight: 25 kg <-> 55 pounds
Colour of eyes: BROWN
Colour of hair: LIGHT BROWN
Distinguishing marks and characteristics: undefined
Language spoken: English
Date of disappearance: 24 April 2008 at 3 years old
Place of disappearance: SYDNEY, Australia
Flyer with further information in PDF

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Andrew and Melinda should contact local Police, Interpol, or the Australian Federal Police on 02 6126 7777.

Family Court of Australia Publication Order enabling the release of information about an International Child Abduction PDF document [14 December 2008]

«The publication order is a document issued by the Family Court of Australia that allows us to publicly talk about Andrew and his situation. It stipulates what we are allowed to talk about regarding his case, and the boundaries within which that is to take place. All documentation going out to others must contain words to this effect: “If you have seen Andrew or Melinda please contact your local Police urgently who will contact Interpol - do not approach Melinda THOMPSON.” For any questions regarding this Publication Order please use the contact details provided on this website. These orders are issued very rarely and the issue of one for Andrew’s abduction and disappearance highlights the very high levels of concern that the Australian and International authorities hold for Andrew’s welfare.»


Update: After almost three years, missing son finally surfaces
by Eamonn Duff
September 9, 2010

Normal life suspended ... Ken Thompson gave up his job as a senior fire fighter to search for his son after he was abducted by his former wife. Photo: Lorne Campbell

Almost three years after his son went missing, former NSW deputy fire chief Ken Thompson has learned the six-year-old boy is in Amsterdam.

Andrew Thompson was three years old when he was abducted in Sydney by his mother, Melinda Stratton, on April 24, 2008, after a custody battle.

Ms Stratton eluded the Australian Federal Police, Interpol and missing children's organisations until she was picked up on Monday after attempting to enrol Andrew in school.

Noticing the six-year-old's passport had expired, the school's principal ran a security check and discovered the boy was the subject of more than 180 Interpol alerts.

Mr Thompson quit his job in May to cycle across Europe on a public crusade to find his son.

‘‘I didn’t know where in Europe he might be,’’ Mr Thompson told Macquarie Radio from Amsterdam on Thursday morning, having just arrived in the city.

‘‘I just knew Europe was the most likely place, so I decided I would do whatever I could do to raise public awareness to Andrew, and to some other kids who are missing in Europe as well, by riding a bicycle and just trying to generate as much media interest as I could in Andrew.’’

A family friend, Robin Bowles, said police had contacted Mr Thompson advising him that his son was safe with welfare officials and his former wife was in custody. Arrangements for her extradition were due to be raised in a court appearance yesterday.

"Ken's ecstatic, emotional, relieved, overjoyed and still in a total state of shock," Ms Bowles said. "It is no secret there were fears for both Melinda's and Andrew's safety and the longer time went on, the fear grew deeper within Ken that maybe he'd never see his son again. He wants to see him. He can't wait a moment longer."

Ms Stratton fled Australia four months after she and Mr Thompson failed to reach a custody settlement. She flew with Andrew to Germany, then vanished. In a letter to her family, she claimed she was forced to flee after losing faith in the Family Court over its handling of serious allegations she levelled against her former husband.

But in December 2008 Mr Stratton successfully lobbied the Family Court to lift a ban on identifying Andrew and his plight.

In granting the order, the court allowed Mr Thompson to release a psychiatric report – compiled before his former wife's disappearance – revealing she had a paranoia disorder that severely impaired her ability as a parent.

Mr Thompson said: ‘‘He is safe. We’ll hopefully now get him back to Australia and then Melinda and I can resume the process that needs to be resumed, that was started in 2008."

in Sydney Morning Herald w/ AAP

19 comments:

  1. Search for them in Thompson's garden and in the local church.
    Again 3 years old!

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  2. What! no PayPal button? no donations? no brown envelopes - just a good honest appeal for information. Good man.

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  3. totally unnecessary and callous comment @1

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  4. cute little boy, and, sensibly, we get the most up to date picture of him possible.

    However, I've never heard of him before, but I will keep a lookout from now on. But he is now double the age he was when he went missing, so he won't be easily spotted. The mother will not have changed that much though (except hair probably). They will have to be looked for as a pair, otherwise there is virtually no chance.

    GOOD LUCK IN YOUR SEARCH MR KEN THOMPSON

    aunty anti

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  5. "I also had a long talk to Kate McCann whose search for her daughter Madeleine is unrelenting. We’ve agreed to stay in touch because we both share the horrible ordeal of not knowing where our children are."

    http://findandrewthompsoneurope2010.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-12-launch-of-international-missing.html

    I think Ken Thompson and Kate McCann don't share anything.

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  6. The article states that Mr. Thompson met Kate McCann. It would be interesting to hear what she said to him. Both their children "missing" at the age of three. Did she offer any
    assistance based on her experience with a well-oiled media campaign? Or, did she give him the brush-off not wanting to be linked with this unfortunate man?

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  7. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/923573/Cuts-hold-up-Maddie-UK-probe.html

    Cuts hold up Maddie UK probe

    "Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told Labour ministers there were huge holes in the original inquiry."

    First time ever Mr Gamble gets something right... There were huge holes where the McCanns were not properly investigated and refused to cooperate.

    I hope someone comes up with the funding to finally PROPERLY investigate the prime suspects in this case, that were not eliminated from the inquiry as you would expect in a normal investigation.

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  8. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/923573/Cuts-hold-up-Maddie-UK-probe.html

    (...)A source said: "The real issue that needs to be resolved is who is going to pay for it? No police force can afford to agree to take on the case without knowing where the funding will come from.

    "The other issue which is as important to resolve is to ensure that British officers will have full access in Portugal.

    "At the moment there is no agreement in place that the Portuguese authorities are going to allow and co-operate with a British re-investigation(...)

    Doesnt look toooooo good,doesntit,mccann people?
    Are YOU going to pay for it?
    Why dont YOU ask the PORTUGUESE authority to reopen the case?

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  9. @Anon 6

    I believe the mccann have been "warned" to be cautious and not catch any bandwagon coming their way because so far it has been proven totally disastrous as each case of child"s disappearance is unique and in any way related to Madeleine"s own.
    Even a child could see it.
    We know for sure they didnt "advise" him: there is no fund,no tricks,nothing.They have nothing in common....err...sorry! they do: a child is missing but the circumsntances are totally different.
    In one case,the "disappearance" is clearly linked to BOTH parent,in the other,the mother has whoosh clunked WITH the child.
    In the first case,everything points out the child is dead,in the other...they disappeared without a trace and they are great chances Andrew is alive because he is with his mother.(even though I totally disapprove of the kidnap,at least,the child is hopefully alive and with his mother)
    May be they are hidding on this "famous" australian lady"s yatch??
    Andrew"s dad is not hiring cowboys,no PRs,no setting up funds,he hasnt any connection with any governmental big bonnets and the "only" thing he does is to CYCLE europe with a T-shirt and his son"s name on it while the mccann chose the "trendy and fancy" way to look for Madeleine:jetlagging and making cash.....no,they cant really advise him unless they told him to read the latest book published in Germany? Daniela Prousa "Analysis of Madeleine McCann"s disappearance?"

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  10. Apologies, not intended to be so @1, just complementing the integrity of the appeal.

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  11. Andrew's dad is really leaving 'no stone unturned', which is more than can be said of the McCanns. When did they physically search until they dropped?

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  12. I see from the Daily Mail that Halligen will be getting thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money in the form of Legal Aid for his defence! Surely with his gregarious nature, he could defend himself! Once again legal aid goes to the undeserving. Just what has he done with all his dirty money?

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  13. Ill gladly get the ball rolling with a £50.000 donation to get these parasites in court......

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  14. I can't afford £50k, but would be glad to contribute my bit!

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  15. I am Ken Thompson - Andrew's Dad.

    It's good to see sites like these carrying stories about the abduction of children - either by a parent or by a stranger. All of these kids need to be found & reunited with their parents & other family members.

    I am very grateful to all the people who have taken the time to read about Andrew & my search for him (& for his mother who also needs help), & who pass blogs like this on to as many people as possible in as many countries as possible.

    Kind Regards
    Ken (currently in Czech Republic)

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  16. I'm very sorry, but now I can't look to any missing person case ( special when is a child) without a pinch of suspicion( Mccann's legacy).
    Mccann's campaign damage the search of all really abducted children. After Madeleine, few people believe on abductions.
    Mathew could be different because looks a parental abduction. I hope his father never follow Mccann's advise and never set a Fund. It is police job to look and search missing persons. This is why we pay so many taxes. And polices are the experts on this issues.

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  17. 15 Ken Thompson

    I wish from the bottom of my heart that Andrew and his mother will be found soon. You are a good example of a parent that is searching for his missing child, you'll give hope to other parents of missing children.
    I'm sorry to say, the McCanns are the opposite.

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  18. Ken Thompson,I cannot even begin to feel your pain,but,I will feel your joy should all your dedication in trying to find your beloved son ,brings him back into your life.GOOD LUCK .

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  19. There is an update on this case here:

    http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?start=4060&end=4080&view=yes&id=5415#newspost

    "Concern is increasing among Human Rights and Children’s Rights groups in Australia and Europe regarding the detention without charge on 8 September 2010 of Melinda Stratton and her six year old son, Andrew. Melinda is being detained in Niewersluis Prison in Amsterdam and Andrew is in an institution with juvenile offenders. Melinda is not wanted for any criminal offences, only that she has taken her child abroad without his father’s permission and it is alleged that this is in breach of the Hague Convention, although there is no Court Order in force regarding Andrew’s custody..

    Melinda fled Australia with Andrew almost three year ago after separating from her husband Ken Thompson, the Deputy Fire Chief of New South Wales and becoming engaged in a Family Court battle over custody of Andrew. Melinda believed that Andrew had been sexually molested by his father, and that the only way that Andrew could be protected was to take him abroad. Australian Family Courts automatically award contact and residency of children to fathers, even when they may have convictions for paedophilia, domestic violence, and child molestation.

    Melinda is a highly successful business woman and has travelled widely in Europe and the United States in her profession as a medical consultant. She has a house and a comfortable standard of living in Sydney Australia and support from her family in the area. Her father was a World War II fighter pilot and received Military Honours for his service.

    Child care experts in Australia are deeply concerned for the effects on Andrew’s emotional wellbeing and mental health from the separation from his mother and he has only been allowed to see her for one hour during that time. Experts fear that his removal and detention will have severely traumatised Andrew which will have serious and long term effects on his emotional and mental being and are demanding they be reunited immediately before further harm is caused to Andrew and to Melinda by their separation and incarceration..

    Ken Thompson has mounted a worldwide campaign to hunt them down, setting up Internet websites and cycling across Europe in his search for them. He is being supported by Australian Father’s Rights groups. He has alleged that Melinda is mentally ill and dangerous but Melinda has never received psychiatric diagnosis nor treatment and Andrew appears to have been safe in her care throughout his childhood. Mr Thompson and the Father’s Rights groups are demanding that the Courts should severely punish Melinda Stratton when she is extradited back to Australia and are pressurising the Australian government into making it a criminal offence for a parent to take a child abroad without the other parent’s permission. They also want anyone in Australia and in Europe who has helped Melinda to be charged with criminal offences, including a priest and nuns who gave her help in Holland.

    Inquiries are being held into allegations regarding a large number of ritualised sexual assault and harassment of new recruits into the New South Wales Fire Brigade which had been occurring since the 1980s. Charges are to be made against a number of serving fire officers and it is reported that the activities of sexual depravity were known at all levels of the Brigade. Ken Thompson rose through the ranks for 38 years to become Deputy Fire Chief. He resigned suddenly in May 2010 shortly after news broke of these events, to go to Europe to seek his son Andrew."

    Charles Pragnell
    Child and Family Advocate
    Melbourne Australia

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