Prince Segala, a California woman whose kids were kidnapped by her ex-husband in 1995, reconnected with them recently after she searched Facebook for her daughter's name and found her profile. Welcome to the new milk carton.
The story of their "reunion" isn't all sunshine and unicorns, though. When Segala found her 17-year-old daughter online three months ago, the girl didn't believe that Segala was her real mother. Segala sent family photos to prove it was her, but the daughter, who was raised by another woman, didn't want to have any contact with her real mom or her living situation to change. Days later, the girl deleted her account on Facebook.
But Segala had enough information to contact the police and have her ex-husband, Faustino Fernandez Utrera, arrested in Florida where he was living with the children. Now Segala's daughter and her 16-year-old brother are under the protection of Florida Department of Children and Families while a court decides who gets custody. Meanwhile Utrera sits in a Florida jail awaiting extradition to California for trial.
Utrera originally took off with the children in 1995 after the couple got divorced; he told Segala that he'd moved to Mexico and she would never see her kids again. Thanks to Facebook, she learned that wasn't true. Say what you will about social network's wonky privacy policies, but at least this time the open flow of information served a good purpose.