Report: Dallas Woman Hires Commandos to Retrieve Daughter
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A Texas woman who was locked in a custody dispute with her former husband hired a team of retired U.S. Army commandos to get her daughter back from Jordan, according to a published report.
Kathy Mahoon of Dallas was given custody of the girl by a U.S. court when she and her Jordanian husband divorced, The Philadelphia Inquirer said Saturday. The husband abducted the girl, Lauren Mohammed Ali Bayan, and took her to Jordan, the newspaper said.
Ms. Mahoon, unable to get her daughter back through legal channnels, hired a firm of former Army commandos to take the girl away from her father, Mohammed Ali Bayan, the newspaper said. Bayan claimed legal custody of the child under Jordanian law.
Corporate Training Unlimited, a firm in Fayetteville, N.C., specializing in ″hostage rescue training,″ plotted and carried out the seizure for expenses and a hefty, undisclosed fee, the newspaper said.
Although company president Donald Feeney denied the story, other well- placed sources described the company’s role, the Inquirer said.
Ms. Mahoon now is in hiding with her 7-year-old daughter, while the State Department is fielding protests from Jordan about Americans’ role in the dispute, the newspaper said.
The rescue attempt began at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 28 in Jerash, north of Amman, sources close to the participants told the newspaper. The abduction began when J.D. Roberts, a one-time Army Delta Force hostage rescue specialist, hailed and stopped a school bus by waving a note in Arabic.
While Roberts pinned the shocked driver to his seat, Ms. Mahoon embraced her child and swept her off the bus, smacking a teacher who tried to block their escape. They fled in a white Datsun and switched cars before crossing the border into Israeli-controlled territory, the newspaper said.
When his daughter first disappeared, Bayan said she had been abducted by three Americans and published newspaper advertisements seeking information.
Sameer Salem, a Jordanian friend of Bayan’s, told The Associated Press that Bayan had returned to Jordan in the fall of 1987 after selling a Dallas restaurant called The Country Skillet. Bayan had legal custody of Lauren under Jordanian law, Salem said.
The raid embarrassed the U.S. Embassy because embassy officials knew about the operation but did not alert Jordanian authorities, the Inquirer reported.
Jordanian authorities reached by the AP said the girl left Jordan legally because she had an American passport. Jerash police accused some U.S. embassy officials of taking part in the operation, but police in Amman denied the abduction incident took place.
No State Department press official was available Sunday to comment on the report. There was no listing for Corporate Training Unlimited in Fayetteville, and no listing for Mahoon in Dallas.
According to a brochure obtained by the Inquirer, Corporate Training Unlimited, consists entirely of ″Delta Force and Special Operations qualified personnel.″
Its founders left the military in 1983 amid allegations that they had claimed expenses from both the State Department and the Army for guarding VIPs at U.S. embassies in Central America, the newspaper said.
State Department investigators now want to know whether credentials issued to the company’s founders while in the military were used in the Jordanian incident, the newspaper said.