Help Find Jean Paul: Texas Judge Gave Illegal Custody to Father Based on False Documents

The last time  Berenice Diaz saw her 10-year-old son, Jean Paul Lacombe Diaz, he was begging Bexar County constables not to give him to his father. Video taken by a school bus camera shows the little boy in tears screaming at the officers,  ”Please! He’s not my dad. He hits me lots of times!” And all Bernice could do was watch as constables with a court order took him away–see video here. JeanPaulThat was Oct. 16. She hasn’t seen her son since. Oh, and that court order? It was obtained after Jean Paul’s father, Philippe Lacombe, presented manipulated documents from the Mexican judicial authorities that indicated he had legal custody of his son. No one has seen Jean Paul since then. On AC 360 last night, Berenice said the government helped kidnap her son. She blames police, her ex-husband’s lawyers and especially Judge Sol Casseb for issuing the order that let Philippe take his son. No one checked to see if the documents were valid and Berenice didn’t know the custody papers were ordered until constables showed up at the bus stop. (Visit for more information including video).

Bernice Diaz on a mission to find her kidnapped son./KIN MAN HUI Express News“When the guy can use the law that prevents kidnapping to kidnap a child, we have serious, serious problems,” Diaz told the San Antonio Express News. So how did Lacombe do it? “In 1988, Congress adopted the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, or ICARA, which established rules for returning children who have been abducted from their home country. More than 70 nations signed the treaty, including Mexico and France. It bans U.S. courts from retrying a custody suit that already has been resolved elsewhere. It allowed Jean Paul to be returned to his mother in 2007 after she found him in France, but it also allowed the boy’s father to dupe Bexar County’s court system last month,” the Express News reported. Now Diaz is on a mission. She’s gone door to door. She’s done interviews, set up a web site and is begging anyone who has seen Jean Paul or his father to come forward.

Jean Philippe LacombeA warrant has been issued for Philippe Lacombe. He faces charges of perjury, kidnapping, and interference with child custody. But he is believed to have the financial means to take off with his son (which he already did in 2005 when he took Jean Paul to France). Meanwhile, David Goldman, an American father who has battled Brazilian authorities for custody of his son, was just granted custody of his Sean Goldman four years after his wife took the boy for a two week “vacation” but stayed in Brazil with the boy, divorced David and remarried. She died in child birth last year and her family fought David’s petition for custody all the way to Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court. Two very different fathers. Two very different cases. And all over children. Families on both sides are heart broken, angry, frustrated and exasperated with legal systems meant to protect children but in both cases stall reunification of the children and protect the “kidnapping” parent. It’s sickening to think that all a dad has to do is make a Xerox of “legal” Mexican documents and no one bothers to check them, the police refused to stall a seizure of the boy while he screamed that his father hurts him,  and that a mother is favored in her home country even when she illegally took the child. It is wrong.

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