'Left behind mother' urges government to step in after sons go missing in Russia (From Times Series)
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Hendon mother urges Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene after sons go missing in Russia
A Hendon mother who is fighting to find her two sons after they went missing with their father in Russia has called on the Government to do more for “left behind parents”.
Rachael Neustadt has attempted to make contact with politicians to help her case – but fears her pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Her sons, Daniel-Jakob, eight, and Jonathan, five, were taken on a two-week holiday to Moscow in December 2012 as part of a custody agreement with their father, Ilya Neustadt.
She told the Times Series earlier this year she felt "emotionally broken" as a result.
When they did not return home, a frantic Ms Neustadt took the matter to court – and a Russian judge has twice ordered they be sent back to Hendon with their mother.
But the trio have now not been seen or heard of since November 15, 2013, and their mother is determined to stay positive for the sake of her boys.
She has sent several letters to Prime Minister David Cameron, but the only replies have come from the consular desk officer for Russia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The 36-year-old said: “Our government has unfortunately not taken this seriously and is not doing anything.
“They don’t recognise the problem needs to be dealt with at a level higher than my lawyers.
“It is my firm belief that once every normal avenue has been pursued with no effect, then it must become a diplomatic issue.”
Despite assistance from Reunite International and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction, Ms Neustadt has been unable to arrange a meeting with the Russian ambassador to discuss her case.
She believes there are dozens of other parents across the country in the same situation as her.
Ms Neustadt has recently sent her third letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, on behalf of all parents, to suggest policy changes to curb child abduction and reduce recovery times.
She added: “If the Government won’t start taking a more proactive role, then it is failing parents and children who rely on these conventions to reunite them.”
“Every parent empathises with wanting to protect children. I’m not alone. Abduction can spell utter destruction of families and childhoods.
“Children are being held as captives and being made orphans and nobody is doing anything about it.”
The mother-of-three has received a great initial response to her campaign to find her children, with over 300 donations on her JustGiving page and nearly 1,300 signatures on a petition.
Both boys, who attended Nancy Reuben Primary School, in Hendon, are on the Interpol list but Russian authorities have so far been unable to track the pair down.
The couple also have a third son, Meir, two, who remained with his mother in Hendon.
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