A Texas man has been in a Russian detention center since January after investigators apprehended him in Moscow, accusing him of abusing his two children years earlier in Texas, ABC News reported on Monday.
The family of David Barnes said he was in Russia trying to gain legal clearance to either see his children or bring them home, after his ex-wife, Svetlana Koptyaeva, allegedly violated a court custody order and fled the United States with them to her homeland in 2019. She is wanted in the U.S. on a felony charge of interference with child custody.
Allegations of child abuse against Barnes were also brought to authorities in Texas by Koptyaeva during their divorce proceedings in 2018, but the Department of Family and Protective Services closed the case after there was insufficient evidence to support them.
Barnes' sister Carol said that after hiring an attorney in Moscow, her brother flew there in December, 2021, to see if he could secure at least partial custody or limited rights to visitation with his children in Russian court.
After his arrival in Moscow, the former spouses ran into each other, according to Carol, who said Koptyaeva then contacted Russian authorities to make the same past child abuse allegations that Texas authorities could not substantiate.
In the months since he was taken into custody, David has been visited by representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, according to emails between his family and the State Department, ABC News reported.
A trial date has not yet been scheduled and his future remains uncertain.
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