Father of Missing Child Says Dawn Center Helped Ex-Wife Hide Daughter During Search, Planned Escape to Canada
HERNANDO – Last week, RNRF reported that Pasco County Detectives were searching for 9-year-old Hailey Puyana, after the biological mother took Hailey from her father, who has primary custody, and disappeared for nearly 10 days. (CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE)
Despite well-founded suspicions by Hailey’s father, Aaron Puyana, that his ex-wife, Kristin Hooper was planning to flee the country, officials never issued an Amber Alert.
After a week with without having any contact with Hailey or her mother, Pasco County Officials finally asked for the media’s assistance in helping locate the missing child; however, they made no mention of the Hooper’s plans to take Hailey out of the country.
Last Thursday RNRF received an anonymous tip that may have helped lead detectives to the child’s whereabouts inside Dawn Center, a Hernando County based domestic violence shelter.
Aaron told RNRF during a phone interview on Sunday that detectives located his daughter at the facility and returned her back to his care and custody.
Aaron says his daughter “Felt like a prisoner” and was “traumatized” by the ordeal, and that Hooper refused to allow Hailey to call him. According to Aaron, Hailey told him “My mother told me we were going out for ice cream and tricked me.” That was on February 7th, when Hooper took Hailey from Aaron’s Trinity home and never returned.
Aaron tells RNRF that his daughter lived in filth and that she saw roaches running around inside the facility. He also says that her beloved Persian cat “Max” is still at the facility and being neglected.
Aaron says Hooper, a Canadian citizen, was planning to kidnap his daughter and leave for Canada within a few days. If not for Detectives locating his daughter on Thursday, Aaron believes he might not have seen his daughter again.
Aaron claims he spoke to the FBI, who told him that if she had gone through with her plan to leave the country, she would have faced federal kidnapping charges and extradited back the to the United States.
Aaron believes Dawn Center helped Hooper hide from authorities and is partially responsible for the trauma Hailey suffered. “I can’t even allow my daughter to go back to school out of fear that her mother might take her again,” says Aaron.” For now, Aaron is bringing his daughter’s school work home so that she doesn’t get too far behind.
Aaron was granted custody of Hailey in 2011, due to Hooper’s alleged substance abuse issues. After two years of rehabilitation in Canada, Hooper returned to the U.S. and moved back in with Aaron in 2015, in what he says was an attempt to reconcile. Despite their efforts, Aaron says Hooper may once again be abusing prescription drugs. On one occasion he even found loose hydrocodone pills in the bottom of her purse, says Aaron.
In the weeks leading up to Hailey’s disappearance, Aaron discovered text messages between Hooper and other individuals, detailing her plans to leave the country. In one message Hooper states, “I’m going to taunt him to come at me,” in what Aaron believes was a plot to see if he would react violently, so that she could claim domestic abuse.
Aaron says Hooper cheated on him all the time and even used his car to visit men. When Aaron decided enough was enough, he began dating someone and stopped letting Hooper use his car. But Aaron says he wasn’t going to just kick Hailey’s mother to the street; instead, he offered to help get her own apartment, and even buy her a used car. But his generosity would come too late because Hooper took Hailey soon after presenting his offer.
Aaron believes Hooper may even be jeopardizing her immigration status by not carrying her Green Card, which he says is required by law.
At this point there are no planned court hearings and no formal accusations of domestic abuse, according to Aaron.
Aaron wanted to pass a personal message along to the person who contacted RNRF and helped locate his daughter. “On behalf of my daughter, thank you for stepping up and having the integrity to do the right thing in helping me bring my little girl home,” says Aaron.
A representative of Dawn Center could not be reached for comment.
It should be noted that Dawn Center has been the center of controversy for several years. Board members and administrators have refused to comment on issues raised by former occupants and neighbors who claim drug abuse, violence, and other criminal behavior occur in and around the facility on a regular basis.
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