Police are looking for Helen Gavaghan, 33, of Manchester, U.K., who has been on the run since allegedly abducting her daughter nearly two years ago.
Published On Thu Sep 02 2010
A fugitive mother from Manchester, England, accused of abducting her young daughter and evading police in at least four different countries for almost two years, was last seen in Toronto, police say.
Toronto police are now involved in the alleged parental abduction case that has led police forces from multiple jurisdictions on a chase across the Atlantic Ocean and through Mexico and the U.S.
The case landed in Toronto in February, when Toronto police were made aware that Helen Gavaghan, 33, and her 6-year-old daughter, Pearl Rose Gavaghan Da Massa, had been living in Parkdale for the last year.
Manchester police allege Gavaghan — who shares custody of her child with the girl’s father, Hollywood Henry Da Massa — fled England to Cancun, Mexico, on Dec. 9, 2008, and has been evading police since then.
Before fleeing the country, Manchester police say Gavaghan withdrew a large amount of cash, legally changed her name to Meta International and obtained a passport under her new identity.
After spending three weeks in various Mexican cities, Gavaghan and her daughter are alleged to have crossed the U.S. border into Texas on Dec. 30, 2008, and police say they moved to Toronto around February 2009.
They were last seen in the Parkdale neighbourhood in early July.
Fearing they may be on the run again, Toronto police are asking for the public’s help to find Gavaghan, who has apparently been living in Toronto under the name Dana Flaherty. Her daughter, Pearl Rose, who was supposed to start primary school in Manchester last January, has been using the name Belle Flaherty, police said.
While in Parkdale, Toronto police say Gavaghan provided child care services and was involved in home-schooling groups.
Police describe Gavaghan as 5’5”, with a very thin build, green-brown eyes and long black hair — which may now be dyed and/or cut short. They say she has a prominent angular nose and wide ears.
Her daughter, Pearl Rose, was 3’7” at the time of her alleged abduction, though she has probably grown since then. She was of normal build for her age, with green-brown eyes, and was last seen with light-brown, shoulder-length hair.
Police ask anyone with information to call Toronto Police at 416-808-5930, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or Child Find Ontario at 1-800-387-7967 quoting reference 5625-P. You can also provide tips online at www.222tips.com, or through text message by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).