Amber Alert Prompted by Mother’s Claims of Violent Behavior, Father Speaks Out
REGIONAL – Before a law enforcement agency requests the issuance of a Florida Amber Alert, there must be sufficient evidence that a child is great danger and that the abductor plans to harm the child or place him or her in conditions that could be detrimental to their health.
When 2-year-old Bane Wheeler was snatched from a Port Richey Daycare by his biological father, information provided by the toddler’s mother, combined with the mother’s allegations that Daniel was violent, led authorities to issuing an Amber Alert Tuesday afternoon. From that point forward, Bane’s father, Daniel Wheeler, was portrayed as a violent and dangerous criminal who had illegally abducted his own son without permission. But that may not be the case, according to Daniel who spoke to us by phone yesterday while traveling back to his current home state of Tennessee.
In September of 2014 Erica fled to the State of Florida and established residency with Bane. Daniel quickly responded and filed a motion in Pasco County for full custody of their son. On October 3rd, 2014 Judge Kim Campbell granted Daniel full custody. During the hearing Erica’s attorney served Daniel with an ex parte domestic violence injunction, which is a typical strategy used by attorneys to discredit a petitioner or Respondent and thus influence a judge to deny custody or visitation. Fortunately for Daniel, Judge Campbell denied her motion and Daniel was granted full custody.
According to Daniel, a Texas Judge later ordered that Erica have primary residential custody in Florida and that Daniel would have visitation. After nearly two years of compliance, Erica stopped allowing Daniel to see their son and that’s what prompted Daniel to take action.
Daniel says Texas threw out their order and turned jurisdiction back over to Florida. If that is the case, according to Daniel, then technically he has full custody of Bane and therefore had the right to pick him up whenever he wanted. On Tuesday, January 31st, that’s exactly what he did, when he walked into Bane’s daycare and took him while the mother was distracted.
Daniel says before authorities issued the Amber Alert, he kept in constant contact with law enforcement and even tried to email Erica to let her know they were safe. Despite his cooperation, officials believed the allegations of violent behavior reported by Erica and that is what he says led to the issuance of an Amber Alert.
It should be noted that Daniel is on Felony probation out of Texas for burglary but does not have a violent criminal history.
By the end of the day on Tuesday, Daniel agreed to meet with law enforcement in Orlando to discuss the situation. Daniel was not charged but a Department of Children and Families agent made the decision to give custody of Bane back to his mother, without explanation.
Daniel says the thing that broke his heart the most is when Bane woke up from a nap and said “where’s mommy?” Daniel said “she’s not here but Daddy is.” Bane replied “I don’t have a Daddy.”
Daniel is back in Tennessee trying to decide on what to do next. Daniel hopes to raise enough money to hire an attorney so that he can continue to fight for his son.
Will Dunn and and his organization, Fathers Supporting Fathers, is helping Daniel seek legal counsel and cope with issues surrounding his custody battle.
The following GoFundme Page has been established to help raise funds to help with legal expenses.
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