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Case Background

Julie Rose Troitsky was abducted from Southampton, Pennsylvania on November 21, 2011 by her mother Anna Troitsky (aka Anna Demyanyuk and Anna Belopolskaya) and her grandmother Elena Demyanyuk. Since then, Anna has refused to respond to any and all inquiries about Julie’s welfare or whereabouts and has gone into hiding. In return, a series of efforts have been launched in the U.S. and Russia to ensure Julie’s safe return back to the U.S.

Below is a summary of the Troitsky’s custody case, the events leading up to Julie's abduction, and the legal actions which have transpired since the abduction:

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August 2010: The Troitskys separate due to irreconcilable differences. Max moves out of the marital residence but continues to visit Julie several times a week. Anna refuses to allow Max to have Julie stay overnight at his residence.

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November 2010: Max files a Complaint for Divorce and Petition for Custody in order to be able to have overnight  visits with Julie. Anna then files a counterclaim seeking to either relocate to Moscow, Russia or Denver, Colorado. Anna also temporarily prevents Max from seeing Julie.

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December 2010: An emergency custody hearing is scheduled before the Honorable James McMaster of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. The parties agree to a temporary custody arrangement, whereby Anna has primary physical custody of Julie, Max has partial custody of Julie twice a week, and the parents split legal custody. Since the parties cannot come to a mutual agreement on a permanent custody schedule, they jointly agree to undergo a private custody evaluation by Dr. Margaret Cooke, Ph.D. In the meantime, the following provisions are put into effect:

  • Neither mother nor father shall remove the minor child from the jurisdiction of the Court without leave of Court
  • Neither mother nor father shall obtain a passport for the minor child without written notarized agreement between the parties

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January - March 2011: The Troitskys undergo a custody evaluation by Dr. Cooke. Each parent meets with Dr. Cooke 2-3 times at her office and has a home visit with Dr. Cooke at the parent's residence, so that Dr. Cooke can observe the parent's interaction with Julie.

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April 2011: Dr. Cooke issues a custody evaluation report, which provides a recommendation for a custody arrangement for Julie and addresses Anna’s Petition for Relocation. The evaluation report, in part, states the following:

 

“ Psychological testing reveals the following about Max: The testing profile was a valid one, and Max was not at all defensive, but rather open and honest. All the clinical scales fell within the Normal Range, and there were no indications of any kind of psychopathology, anxiety, depression, or addiction problems. There were also no indications of any kind of antisocial tendencies. Max a low stress/tension level. He has good self-esteem and is confident. While he is optimistic about the future, he has typical situational concerns about the custody dispute and Julie’s welfare.”

 

“ Psychological testing reveals the following about Anna: Anna’s objective testing profile is probably invalid because of a pattern of extreme defensiveness. Anna attempted to present herself in a favorable light, denying faults and problems. She tends to overvalue her worth. Such a pattern of defensiveness may suppress the clinical scales such that, even though they fall within the normal Range, one cannot rule out possible psychopathology. In addition, certain personality correlates such as rigidity, and not being aware of the consequences to others of one’s own behavior are also consistent with this profile.”

 

“Both are loving and caring parents, and both would be capable of assuming primary custody and meeting Julie’s needs, with the exception that Anna is less likely to encourage the relationship with her father than Max is to encourage the relationship with her mother. Julie is also certainly very attached to both of her parents, as well as to members of the extended family on both sides.”


“Regarding Anna’s Petition for Relocation… attachments are very fragile at Julie’s developmental stage, and infants and toddlers need regular interaction to maintain and enhance such attachments. Extended separation at this age from either attachment figure can lead to stress, which can result in long-term consequences, such as depression and anxiety... The specifics in this case clearly point to the psychological cost to Julie clearly outweighing the benefits... This evaluator is unable to rule out the possibility that Anna’s motivation is at least partially to limit Max’s access to Julie... Therefore, the recommendation is that Anna not be allowed to relocate away from the Bucks County area.”

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October - November 2011: A custody trial is held before the Honorable James McMaster of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas on October 31, 2011, November 2, 2011, November 14, 2011, and November 17, 2011. On November 17, 2011, Judge McMaster issues an Order, as follows:

  • Mother’s Petition for Relocation to either Moscow, Russia or Denver, Colorado were both denied
  • The parties are to share legal custody of the Child
  • Mother has primary physical custody and Father has partial physical custody, including weekends, overnights, and weekday dinners
  • Parties each have 2 weeks of vacation with the Child and split all holidays

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November 18, 2011: Max picks up Julie for their first full weekend of custody, with overnights. They go to a playground, read, draw, watch cartoons, and have a fun-filled weekend.

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November 20, 2011: Anna picks up Julie on Sunday evening. Max says good-bye to Julie and kisses her on the cheek before Anna drives off.

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November 23, 2011: Anna’s mother calls Max’s family from Russia to inform them that Anna and Julie are in Moscow. She insists that Anna intends to return to the U.S. but needs a consent letter from Max, stating that he authorized Anna to leave the U.S. with Julie.

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November 24, 2011: After multiple attempts to reach Anna on the phone, Max finally speaks with Anna. She says that she left the country on November 21 and insists that she intends to return with Julie. Now, however, she requests assurances that she won’t be criminally charged or arrested upon her return. Max assures Anna that if she brings Julie back, no legal measures will be taken against her. During the conversation, Max is able to spend a few minutes with Julie on Skype.

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November 26, 2011: After multiple attempts to contact Anna again, Anna informs Max that she now intends to spend some time in Moscow with her family and friends. She refuses to provide a timeline for her return. During the conversation, Max is able to spend a few minutes with Julie on Skype.

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November 28, 2011: Max learns that Anna resigned from her job in the U.S. upon arriving to Moscow. She also removed all of her and Julie’s personal belongings from her residence prior to fleeing the country. Also gone are all the couple's legal documents and family photos.

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December 3, 2011: Max has a brief phone conversation with Anna, which gets cut off due to a poor connection. Anna tells Max that she doesn’t know when she’ll return. This is the last time Max hears from Anna.

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December 5, 2011: Anna files for divorce from Max in a Moscow city regional court, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking child support payments for Julie and alimony payments for herself. Anna tries to deceives the court by stating that Max resides in Moscow and "serving" Max with the divorce filings at Max's childhood residence in Moscow - a place where Max hasn't resided in ~20 years.

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December 6, 2011: An emergency custody hearing is held before the Honorable James McMaster of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Judge McMaster issues an Order, as follows:

  • Anna is given 7 days to return to the U.S. with Julie
  • If Anna doesn’t return Julie to the U.S. within 7 days, full physical and legal custody of Julie is transferred to Max

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December 2011 - March 2012: Max continuously attempts to re-establish contact with Julie through phone calls, telegrams, and other requests through Anna's attorneys. All requests are either denied or avoided without any explanations provided.

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March 23, 2012: After several hearings, the Moscow city regional court grants Anna a divorce from Max and establishes a child support and alimony schedule in accordance with Russian family laws. The issue of child abduction is not addressed by the court due to the nuances of the Russian legal system. Video footage of Anna avoiding media questions regarding her abducting Julie can be viewed in the Media Coverage section of this site. 

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March - July 2012: Max continuously attempts to re-establish contact with Julie through phone calls, telegrams, and requests through Anna's attorneys. All requests are either denied or avoided without any explanations provided.

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August 2012: After evaluating other possible measures of re-establishing contact with Julie, Max files a petition with the Moscow family court, seeking the court's help with removing the obstacles Anna had put in place relative to Max's ability to communicate with Julie. He requests a specific custody schedule, consisting of in-person periods of custody Russia and the USA, as well as weekly phone conversations and Skype visits.

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September 2012 - March 2013: Several interim court hearings take place in the Moscow family court, where Max presents months of evidence of Anna rejecting Max's attempts to reunite with Julie. In response, Anna tries to convince the court that Max is not interested in having a relationship with his daughter. Anna attempts to further delay the issuance of a custody order by introducing new evidence to the case.

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April 2013: After multiple attempts to establish communication with Anna and Julie via phone, Max travels to Russia to attempt to see Julie in person. When he arrives at Anna's residence, he hears Anna's mother - Elena Demyanyuk - speaking with a small child (presumably Julie) inside the apartment. When Max knocks on the door, and Elena discovers that Max is on the other side of the door, the voices go silent, and Elena Demyanyuk never opens the door.

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May 28, 2013: After several interim hearings, the Moscow family court issues a custody order. The order states, in part:

  • Anna needs to stop creating obstacles and allow Max to communicate and have a relationship with Julie
  • Max is granted the following periods of custody with Julie: two phone conversations per week; two Skype visits per week; and two in-person visits per month in Moscow (1st and 3rd Saturday of every month for 3 hours per visit)
  • Max's request to allow Julie to travel to the USA for vacations and holidays is denied
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June - August 2013: Max appeals the custody ruling of the lower court, citing that in-person visits in Russia twice per month for 3 hours are not practical and cannot be reasonably adhered to. Instead, he requests monthly visits in Moscow, each consisting of a full weekend with Julie, as well Julie traveling to the USA for vacations and holidays. Max does not appeal the schedule ordered by the court relative to phone conversations and Skype visits.

In the meantime, Max's attempts to reach Anna and/or Julie by phone or Skype are unsuccessful. Anna fails to provide an official phone number for Max to use, and the calls to her mobile phone are not answered, or dropped. On Skype, Anna either remains offline or does not answer.

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September 2013: Following an appeals court hearing in Moscow, the 3-judge panel issues a revised custody order. The order states, in part:

  • Max is granted the following periods of custody with Julie: one in-person visit every first weekend of the month in Moscow (5 hours each day on Saturday and Sunday)
  • The lower court ruling requiring two phone conversations per week and two Skype visits per week is upheld
  • Max's request to allow Julie to travel to the USA for vacations and holidays is denied
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September - December 2013: After continued weekly attempts to establish communication with Julie go unsuccessful, Max files a motion with the regional Sheriff's office to get assistance in the enforcement of the custody order. The motion is currently being reviewed and addressed.


To this day, Max has not seen or spoken with Julie since her abduction in November 2011.


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