AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB) — An Agawam woman and her daughter are free to return to the US tonight after being held against their will in Brazil.
Authorities there took the passports of Shauna Hadden and her six-year-old daughter Ava because of a custody battle with the girl’s father.
It’s a story ABC40 first brought you over a week ago and since has made national headlines.
After seven weeks of battling, a judge early this morning ruled Shauna and Ava Hadden be given their passports back immediately. She also ruled that their names be removed from a no-fly list. That means once Shana and Ava get their passports in hand, returning home to the states will be just hours away.
The two arrived in Brazil seven weeks ago to visit Ava’s father, but that’s when Shauna says he began making threats to kidnap Ava. He started a custody battle and Brazilian officials illegally took Shauna and Ava’s passports at gunpoint.
They were stuck in a foreign country and for weeks American officials pled with Brazilians to allow them to leave and today that happened bringing much relief to Shauna and Ava’s family in Agawam.
“There’s certainly been a lot of ups and downs. We had every day… it was a good day and then it was a bad day and today was certainly a good day. It’s been very stressful on all of us here and it’s been very stressful on Shauna and Ava as well,” says Linda Hadden, Shauna’s mother.
Over 12,000 people showed support to Shauna and Ava on a Facebook page and they made international headlines. Shauna told us that she believes the media attention and support from across the world helped expedite their trip home.
When will that be exactly? Well hopefully by the end of this week. The passports have yet to physically arrive in Shauna’s hands, but they are expected to do so soon. So once that happens they will be on the next flight back home. It’s a big sigh of relief from Agawam.
Shauna’s family says six-year-old Ava will still be able to salvage most of her summer camp before entering first grade in the fall.