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Boy finally reunited with American dad in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - A Brazilian family delivered a 9-year-old
boy to his American father in Brazil on Thursday, ending a five-year custody battle.

Sean Goldman was brought into the U.S. consulate by several of
his Brazilian relatives, making it into the compound's front door
as scores of reporters and cameramen tried to get close. His
father, David Goldman, was waiting for him inside.

Sean cried as his stepfather and family lawyer tried to get him
through the scrum of journalists in front of the consulate. Guards
had to violently push back photographers and TV cameramen.

The boy carried his luggage and wore a yellow shirt with the
Brazilian flag and Olympic rings underneath.

He didn't say anything as he was led from a black SUV across the
street to the consulate. His maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi,
said in tears simply that "this is a very difficult moment."

Goldman's New Jersey-based lawyer, Patricia Apy, criticized how
the turnover was conducted.

"Unfortunately, the Brazilian family, rather than have the
handoff take place in a garage, which would have been secure,
parked away and walked him through the press, which only serves to
make the situation more stressful for the child," Apy said.

Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, won a big legal victory
late Tuesday when Brazil's chief justice upheld a lower court's
ruling that ordered Sean returned to him.

The father and son were expected to fly back to Goldman's home
within hours.

The Brazilian family said Wednesday it was dropping legal
challenges to rulings giving custody to Goldman. But the New Jersey
man said repeatedly that, until he was on a plane heading to the
U.S. with Sean at his side, he would not feel relief.

The Brazilian family brought the boy to the consulate about 25
minutes before the 9 a.m. (1100 GMT) court-ordered deadline to have
him handed over to his dad.

Sean has lived in Brazil since Goldman's ex-wife, Bruna Bianchi,
brought him to her native country for what was supposed to be a
two-week vacation in 2004.

Bianchi stayed, divorced Goldman and remarried, and Goldman
began legal efforts to get back Sean. Last year Bianchi died in
childbirth.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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