Community supports soldier in international custody battle - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX


Community supports soldier in international custody battle


A community responded with an outpouring of emotional and financial support during a fundraiser to raise money for an Overland Park soldier who is fighting to see his daughter.

Large crowds filled the tent fundraiser. Many purchased items, but some stopped by to drop off donations for Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Chafin, whose young daughter is at the center of an international custody battle.

It all began when Chafin met his wife while stationed in Germany. He was deployed to Afghanistan and then the family moved to Alabama.

While in Alabama, Chafin says his wife was arrested for public intoxication and domestic violence.  She was ultimately deported to Scotland.

After Chafin filed for divorce, his wife filed a petition for return of their child to Scotland under the Hague Convention's Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

An Alabama judge sided with Chafin's wife, and in October of last year, his wife took their daughter, Eris, to Scotland.

"The main question for the Supreme Court is do I have the right to an appeal because the 11th Circuit said I didn't have the right to an appeal.  Because she was out of the country, it was moot," he said.

In a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the case in December. Until then, the family is holding a fundraiser to pay for his legal fees. The most recent fundraiser raised about $5,000. The family also received a lot of new items for donation, so they are going to open again Wednesday. The fundraiser will run through Sunday at 6901 Lamar Ave. in Overland Park.  To view the family's website you can click here.

Chafin is also gaining support of several senators.  He recently walked to Washington D.C. to promote a bill to protect military parents from losing contact with their children.  

To read previous coverage, click here.

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