Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:34 pm
A teary-eyed mother, crumpled with emotion, embraced supporters outside a courtroom this morning after a judge dismissed charges in a kidnapping case.
Eva Ruiz-Gomez faced a charge of felony custodial deprivation that could have landed her a sentence of up to three years in prison.
Ruiz-Gomez was accused of preventing the father of her 14-year-old son from seeing the child after she moved with her new husband and family to Mexico in 2003.
The mother has been fighting the charges since she was arrested in September 2010, following the family’s return to Monterey County.
“It’s been two years of torment,” said Ruiz-Gomez, clutching her chest after the hearing. She added, “It’s been a terrible, terrible, trip.”
Judge Larry Hayes ruled that two court orders prior to the family’s move to Mexico were “confusing and not clear,” and sided with Ruiz-Gomez’s assertion that the orders allowed her to move away from the country. He said there was no evidence that, as the prosecutor argued, she left with a malicious intent to keep her son from his father.
“If she had this motive, why in the world would she return to Monterey County where the father is?” Hayes asked.
After the hearing, Ruiz-Gomez gathered with at least a dozen supporters, many also in tears. Her followers, a band of community members and advocates called “Friends of Eva,” have publicly championed the woman, even raising money for her defense.
Deputy District Attorney Todd Hornik said the DA’s office will accept the ruling of the court.
“The matter should have always stayed in family court,” he said.
Ruiz-Gomez now plans on going to family court to regain sole custody of her child, and returning to Mexico.
“I have my freedom,” she said. “I can go home.”