Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By RACHEL OHM Morning Sentinel
WATERVILLE — Police are looking for a woman they say abducted her two children and could be a threat to their welfare.
Joel and Joslyn Retamozzo
Joslyn Retamozzo, 7, and Joel Retamozzo, 6, both of Waterville, were reported missing about 8:45 p.m. Thursday by their grandmother, who has had court-ordered custody of them for several years, according to police.
Police believe there could be a threat to the children's welfare, but Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey would not elaborate on what that threat could be.
"It's just something that we don't want to share. It's not appropriate at this time," he said.
Massey said there was no Amber Alert, an emergency response system that sends out information on missing children, because activation requires that the alert be issued within three hours of filing the missing person's report and knowledge that the missing person is in danger.
He said police initially did not know that the children could be in danger.
The woman, BethMarie Retamozzo, 34, took the children during a supervised visit Thursday morning when the person who was there to supervise allowed Retamozzo to take the children into her minivan with the understanding that they would meet at a park in Fairfield, according a Waterville Police Department news release. Police are not releasing the grandmother's name or that of the court-appointed person who was supervising the visit, Massey said. He said he did not know the children's father's name.
BethMarie Retamozzo did not show up at the park, and no one has seen her or the children since then. She has been charged with two counts of class C criminal restraint by a parent.
Today, Massey said detectives had limited information on Retamozzo, who they believe has lived out of state for several years.
Massey said Police Department records dating to the late 1990s contain no data on Retamozzo. He said he was not sure whether she has a criminal history elsewhere.
Retamozzo appeared in a Morning Sentinel photo on Sept. 1, 2012, in which she is shown protesting the state Department of Health and Human Services in downtown Skowhegan.
She was holding a sign that read, "If DHHS has taken your child or someone's child you know unjustly, stop and join this protest. Together we can make a difference."
The photo's caption says Retamozzo was living in Fairfield and had three children.
A Facebook page for a woman named Beth Retamozzo shows that she belongs to a group called Fight Child Protective Services, where she has left posted comments saying that child protective services should not be trusted and that she is founding an organization called CPS Injustice Maine.
The Department of Health and Human Services could not be reached for comment today.
Police said they think Retamozzo left Maine with the children and could be headed to Florida or New York. She is described as being about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen driving a gray Nissan Quest minivan with a New York license plate, ERE2647.
In an update later today, police said Retamozzo is travelling with her 2-year-old Hispanic female child, which is legally in her custody.
Police have described Joslyn Retamozzo as a black female, 7 years old, 4 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 80 pounds.
Joel Retamozzo is described as a white male, 6 years old, 4 feet tall and weighing about 60 pounds.
The Waterville Police Department is working with the Maine Information Analysis Center, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York state law enforcement and other entities in an attempt to find Retamozzo and her children.
Police asked that anyone with information about the three to call 911 or the Waterville Police Department at 680-4700.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
click image to enlarge
BethMarie Retamozzo, front, and others protest against the Department of Health and Human Services in Skowhegan on Aug. 31, 2012, claiming the agency has illegally taken their children. Retamozzo, then 33 and living in Fairfield, said she began her protest the previous week in Skowhegan and sought to regain custody of her three children. She is accused of abducting her children, Joslyn and Joel Retamozzo, on Thursday, and police said today they believe Retamozzo is traveling with her 2-year-old Hispanic daughter, who is in Retamozzo's legal custody.
Morning Sentinel file photo by David Leaming