Details of Disappearance
Gabriel and his sister, Isabel
, disappeared from Culpeper, Virginia on January 18, 2011. They were abducted by their non-custodial mother, Maria Rivera-Estevez. She took the children to the Dominican Republic without the permission of their father, Robert Makielski. They were in the middle of a divorce at the time.
A photo of Maria is posted with this case summary. Her date of birth is May 18, 1969, making her 31 years old at the time of the children's abductions. She's described as Hispanic, 5'4 and 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Robert stated he attempted to resolve the problem through mediation, but Maria didn't respond to his overtures. In February, Robert filed for his children's return to the United States under the terms of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. That same month, a warrant was issued for Maria's arrest for custody violation.
Maria applied for divorce and custody of Gabriel and Isabel in the Dominican Republic, and Robert hired a Dominican lawyer to get the divorce case dismissed and represent him in the custody hearing. He said he was afraid to physically attend the hearing because he'd been threatened, and the Dominican court judge refused to let him attend via video conference.
The Dominican court refused to return the children to Robert's care, because Maria alleged he'd abused them; Robert claims the judge committed numerous violations of the Hague Treaty.
In December 2012, the Culpeper County Circuit Court in Virginia granted sole physical and legal custody of Isabel and Gabriel to their father. There is also a felony warrant on file for Maria.
The custody ruling and the warrant are unenforceable, however, as long as the children and their mother remain in the Dominican Republic.
Robert hasn't seen his children or had contact with them since their mother abducted them. They were last known to be living in the capital city of Santo Domingo. Their cases remain unsolved.