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Man To Search For Missing Daughter In Brazil

September 18th, 2009
Michael Sanchez plans to travel to Brazil to find the daughter he says was kidnapped by the girl's mother.

Michael Sanchez plans to travel to Brazil to find the daughter he says was kidnapped by the girl's mother.

It began as a one-man crusade to get his kidnapped daughter back. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the crusade is about to go global. Former Berwyn resident Michael Sanchez is ready to fly to South America to find his daughter Emily himself.

He knows she’s there and has been since she was kidnapped by her mother more than a year ago. He hasn’t seen or talked to her since. You may be surprised to learn that Sanchez isn’t even remotely alone. Sanchez stood outside the Berwyn home where his now-4-year-old daughter lived before she was kidnapped by her mother and taken to Brazil, her mother’s native country.

“The first time I came here, I found a pacifier of Emily’s upstairs. That hurt,” he said. Sanchez says that was in 2008, shortly after Emily’s mother left him a letter stating she was afraid of losing custody and was leaving. He hasn’t seen or talked to his daughter since.

Sanchez has taken his fight to find his daughter to the U.S. courts and beyond. And because Emily’s mother, Nigia Machado, violated terms of a parenting agreement prohibiting either parent from taking Emily out of the country without permission, he was recently awarded sole custody. But none of that matters, he says, unless he finds his daughter, which is why he’s headed to Brazil soon.

“This is all I do, every day, is try to figure out what I can do for my daughter, try to figure out some sort of resolution to this,” Sanchez said. Sadly, Sanchez is dealing with pain felt by thousands. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, between 2004 and 2008 some 10,637 children were abducted. Of those, more than 9,800 were taken by family. Even more stunning: It’s estimated about 2,000 of the children kidnapped by family were taken out of the U.S.

“I’m never going to give up finding her. If it does come to the point where she’s 20 years old, she’ll find me. But I want her to know if I don’t ever see her again, I did try,” Sanchez said.

He’s holding a fundraiser this weekend at a Chicago bowling alley to help fund his trek to brazil. Sanchez says taking Emily out of the country without permission violated a parenting agreement between him and his ex-girlfriend, Nigia Machado. CBS 2 was not able to find any relatives of the woman to speak with Thursday.

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