|An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007, in Vol. 7, No. 191
|A.M. Costa Rica Page One
|Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170). Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.|
father's bittersweet 10-year search for daughter
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The father of an abducted U.S. child said he spent 10 years pressing authorities to find the girl and her mother.
Meanwhile, the child was living a normal life in Costa Rica attending school with the belief that her father was some kind of sexual predator. Her mother led a normal life, too, as a teacher of English, even though she shared the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's 10 most wanted list with the likes of Osama Bin Laden.
The mother's location in Heredia was well-known to U.S. Embassy workers since at least February of 2002, but the father did not learn until June that his former girlfriend had been located.
The father, Roger Cyprian, outlined his search by telephone Tuesday. He hired private investigators until he ran out of money. He was asked to pay $40,000 by an expat in Costa Rica who would kidnap the child. He spent months tracking a false lead to Canada.
Cyprian of Fort Worth, Texas, was in Costa Rica last week when agents of the International Police Agency detained the woman, Chere Lyn Tomayko. She was wanted on a U.S. federal indictment alleging the parental kidnapping of her daughter, Alexandria Camille Cyprian in May 1997.
Most of all, Cyprian, a registered nurse and physician's assistant in Texas, was surprised by the A.M. Costa Rica story where it was disclosed that U.S. Embassy officials learned the whereabouts of the fugitive woman in February 2002. It appears now that local statements to the contrary, the FBI was never notified and embassy workers kept the woman's location a secret from law enforcement.
Cyprian said he worked closely since 2000 with two male FBI agents, and one eventually was successful in getting the woman's wanted poster promoted to the 10 most wanted category. U.S. Embassy officials had said incorrectly five years ago that the FBI agent in Texas in charge of the case was a woman.
Cyprian had joint custody of Alexandria when he said he found Ms. Tomayko's apartment emptied one day. They were not married but the couple lived together for seven years, he said. Ms. Tomayko has an older daughter by a previous relationship. She is Chandler, who was just 11 months old when the pair became a couple. Chandler, now 20, appears to have moved with her mother to Costa Rica.
Ms Tomayko also has two other daughters, 4 and 6, both born here from a relationship with a Costa Rican professional, said Cyprian. A child was with her when she was detained a week ago, agents said.
Cyprian said he followed a series of address changes that became a dead end in a Canadian mail drop. Not until he received a call from a man in Costa Rica about 1999 who said he knew where to find his daughter and her mother did this country enter the picture. Eventually the man wanted $40,000 to abduct the child but an FBI agent talked Cyprian out of doing that, he said. Since then the focus has been on Costa Rica.
Cyprian confirmed that the FBI was interested in an underground network that would spirit women who said they were abused to a new location despite existing court decisions. In his own case, he said that Ms. Tomayko alleged physical abuse and then sexual abuse. He denied those allegations and noted that a Texas judge awarded him joint custody and allowed unsupervised visitations.
In 2002 Cyprian said he and his present wife attended a high-level Washington, D.C., meeting with State Department officials along with other victims of child abductions.
That was about the time that A.M. Costa Rica printed a small story with photographs saying that Ms. Tomayko was suspected of being in Costa Rica. The next day Heredia residents reported that she was teaching English in a
Roger Cyprian in happier times, with his ex- girlfriend's daughter Chandler and his daughter, Alexandria.
school there and asked a reporter to inform the embassy.
An embassy spokesman said the case was sensitive and asked the editor to delay publishing a followup story. The newspaper complied with that request for six months.
Cyprian said he was hot when he learned from the news story Friday that embassy workers knew for at least five years where the woman was. Earlier some embassy workers reported to Texas law officers that Ms. Tomayko had left the country every 90 days or so to renew her tourism visa, but that immigration records were so disorganized they could not tell if she had returned, he said.
There was no record of the kidnapped girl, he added.
The A.M. Costa Rica article said that it appears that embassy workers protected Ms. Tomayko until Alexandria Cyprian turned 18 in July. The news story suggested that the embassy employees might have been more sensitive to Ms. Tomayko's plight because she is white and Cyprian is black. He said the FBI agent on the case did not think so, but he said that embassy workers might have swallowed the claim of sexual abuse.
The case still is a federal felony, and Ms. Tomayko is being held for an extradition investigation. Cyprian said that he was told immigration is not involved in the case even though Ms. Tomayko probably is illegal in the country. An embassy worker told him it was not a U.S. responsibility to enlighten local immigration officials, he said.
Ms. Tomayko probably was living on family money while here, the former boyfriend said.
"Unfortunately when I left Costa Rica, Alexandria would not speak to me or allow me to see her," said Cyprian of his now adult daughter. "Nor was I given any contact information for Alex. She had been supplied with 10 years of misinformation about me from Ms. Tomayko, and I believe if she is allowed to read just a little of the other side of the story, it might make a difference in her life.
"While Alexandria is an illegal alien in Costa Rica, and I could try to get her deported, I can't see taking Alex away from her two little sisters, ages 4 and 6, that she has bonded with in your country. This would be no less of a crime then that Ms. Tomayko has committed by taking Alex away from me and her sister here in the States 10 years ago.
"Likewise, I have married since this abduction, and Alex has two brothers and another sister (that looks a lot like her) here in the States. I would like Alex to want to come visit us or at the least allow me to establish some communication between us so that we can redevelop that father daughter relationship we once had."