THE teenage girl at the centre of a Mormon tug-of-love drama is back in Ireland.
The girl featured in a tearful appeal by her distraught mother Caroline O’Farrell on RTÉ’s Liveline.
During the phone-in two weeks ago, members of the 14-year-old’s family called in from both sides of the Atlantic.
Feelings ran high amid claims made about her half-sister, Melita Carter, with whom she was staying at her home in Provo, a small town in Utah. Mrs Carter in turn made a number of serious allegations against her own mother – namely that she had physically abused her two daughters. This claim was ‘denied absolutely’.
Gardaí and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs worked round the clock trying to resolve the issue.
In America, where the appeal made, ABC News and various newspapers, two separate police forces, three sets of lawyers, two judges, the FBI and Interpol and officials from the Hague Conference in Private International Law were all involved.
Mrs Carter, a Mormon, had obtained a temporary protective order against Miss O’Farrell and insisted her halfsister wanted to stay with her rather than return to her mother in Dublin.
Mrs Carter had paid for her halfsister to visit her in July but the child had been due home on August 19.
Shortly after arriving in Provo, Mrs Carter claims her half-sister made physical abuse allegations against Miss O’Farrell that resulted in the order being granted by a US judge.
That order has been revoked and the teenager is back at her mother’s home in Dublin.
She left Utah with her father Ian Cowan – who flew over to get her. They arrived in Dublin after 10am last Friday and were greeted by an aunt, an uncle and the teenager’s grandmother, Pat Cowan.
She looked pleased to see her relatives and gave them all a hug and a kiss. Shortly after, she was driven to her school where she was reunited with her friends and teachers who had all been concerned about her welfare.
Last night, her uncle Gordon Cowan said: ‘We are so relieved to see her back with us again.
‘She has been reunited with her mother and even the gardaí have been round to make sure everything is fine.
‘And it is. So, now we are all concentrating on getting back to normal after what has not been a very pleasant ordeal.
‘The girl is not in any danger whatsoever,’ he added. ‘Everything was blown out of all proportion by her half-sister but the important thing for now is that she is back, and she is safe.’
Mr Cowan revealed that his niece was unable to call home because she did not have access to a telephone.
He said the family are to be given counselling to get over the ordeal. Her mother was hospitalised recently, after an angina attack. ‘It’s been really stressful for everybody,’ Mr Cowan said.
‘Her mother ended up in hospital and there have been a lot of sleep-less nights. ‘Nobody really knew what was going on in America. We were completely in the dark.
We didn’t even know about the temporary protection order until after it had been granted.’
Despite the protective order gained by the Carters, another judge revoked it, placed a restraining order against the Carters and issued a pick up order.
Neither Mrs Carter nor her husband Chas were allowed to see the girl before she flew back to Ireland, according to a report in the Daily Herald newspaper.
Gordon Cowan last night praised the gardaí and State services. ‘The gardaí and the Department of Foreign Affairs have been great,’ he said.
‘They really helped us out and made a huge difference to how things turned out.’