A Florida woman faces a felony charge of custodial interference following a month-long custody dispute during which she left the state with her 9-year-old son.
Olivia Grace Barkes, 33, remained in the Blaine County jail as of Monday after being booked in on Christmas Eve. According to a probable-cause affidavit written by Hailey Assistant Police Chief Steve England, Barkes initially refused to hand over the child to his father on Nov. 3 at a third party’s home in Hailey, starting a series of events that eventually led to her arrest.
According to the affidavit, on Nov. 3, the child’s father, Sonny Barkes, was supposed to have the child that evening per a custody agreement, but Olivia Barkes refused to let the child leave. Responding Officer Joshua Latimer reportedly explained that he could not enforce the custody agreement without a court order. When Latimer made contact with Barkes inside the residence, she allegedly said the child did not want to leave and that she would be “leaving for the East Coast and would not see them for a long time.”
On Nov. 4, according to the affidavit, an order from the court ordering Barkes to hand over the child to his father was sent to the Hailey Police Department, but Barkes could not be located.
According to the affidavit, between Nov. 4 and Nov. 15, “my office continued to attempt to make contact with Olivia … but all of our department’s attempts turned out to be unsuccessful.”
Between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, Barkes allegedly failed to meet the boy’s father to hand him over to him in Twin Falls, and according to the affidavit there was speculation that Barkes may have gone to North Carolina, where she had family. In addition, police discovered that the boy had not attended school since Nov. 4, ultimately leading to the filing of a misdemeanor warrant arrest for custodial interference for Barkes on Nov. 26.
Following the issuance of the warrant, the Twin Falls Police Department made contact with Barkes to try to get her to go to the police station along with the boy on Dec. 2. According to the affidavit, she agreed to meet and then failed to show up. In addition, Barkes allegedly failed to appear for a child custody hearing in Twin Falls on Dec. 3, at which time the judge amended the child custody order and gave sole custody to the father.
On Dec. 9, the boy was entered into the National Crime Information Center as a missing child, and Blaine County dispatch was able to locate Barkes’ cell phone from a call made from Jacksonville, Fla., at which time the warrant was amended to a felony. Barkes was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 12 and transported back to Idaho.
Barkes is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 6, at which time the state must present sufficient evidence for the case to be prosecuted as a felony.