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Forest Park dad accused of kidnapping kids

held in Texas on probation violation charge

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Clayton County Sheriff's Fugitive Unit has caught up with a Forest Park man sought internationally two years ago for allegedly kidnapping his four children.

Francisco Madrigal, 35, is in custody in Hidalgo, Texas, said Clayton County sheriff's investigators. Madrigal was serving five years on probation on four counts of interference with child custody in the September 2011 abduction of his children from Forest Park. State and federal officers looked for the kids for about a month before they were returned to their mother by relatives.

A warrant was issued for Madrigal's arrest through Clayton County Superior Court on allegations he violated the terms of his Jan. 25, 2012, probation. Judge Albert Collier signed the warrant alleging Madrigal violated criminal law when he was charged March 25, 2012, for driving without a license.

Madrigal is also accused of failing to report for a hearing on that charge, failing to pay fines and fees and failing to notify officials about his change of address.

Officials expect Madrigal, who said he is a U.S. citizen, to waive extradition and return to Georgia to face those charges.

When Madrigal went on the run with the children, his arrest warrant was turned over to the Clayton County Sheriff's Fugitive Unit. Investigator David Vasquez communicated almost daily with the GBI, FBI, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, U.S. Marshals and Diplomatic Security Services, cobbling together information that finally led to the children's return home in October 2011.

Mother Miriam Rivera said at that time she was thrilled to see her children again. She and the kids moved away from the apartment where they were living at the time of the kidnapping.

"I am so happy now," she said in Spanish. Vasquez interpreted her comments into English in October. "When I saw them, I embraced them and started kissing them. It was like an eternity before they came home. I was desperate for their return."

Madrigal took the kids to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, to stay with Rivera's mother. After a few weeks, the grandmother put them on a bus to Reynosa, Mexico, where they were picked up by an uncle. He drove them in a van to his home in Corpus Christi, followed by days of driving back to Georgia.