Court documents detail mother’s refusal to turn over son in child stealing case

Crime Watch

Amanda Nicole Hernandez

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A court commissioner in early March issued an order giving temporary custody of Amanda Nicole Hernandez’s son to the boy’s father, and denying her visitation rights until the next hearing.

Commissioner Dawn Bittleston made the ruling March 4 after finding Hernandez interfered with the father’s visitation, “causing complete alienation,” according to court documents released Thursday.

But Hernandez, 28, refused to comply with the order. She kept her 2-year-old son and didn’t turn herself in until two weeks had passed. By that time, law enforcement had asked for the public’s help locating her.

Hernandez is charged with child stealing and child stealing with concealment in violation of a court order, both felonies. She also faces a misdemeanor contempt of court charge.

In an interview with 17 News after her arrest, Hernandez claimed she didn’t hand the boy over because her ex had previously abused her, both physically and emotionally. She said she never reported the abuse to police, and gave no evidence of it in court.

District Attorney’s office investigator Veronica Alvarez was given the same reason March 15 when the investigator told Hernandez she must follow the court’s order, according to the documents. Alvarez noted the father had no convictions for domestic violence.

Hernandez said it was her fault the father had no convictions because she had requested charges be dismissed, the documents said.

“Amanda had no other reason for why (the child) would be in danger at the hands of the father,” Alvarez wrote in the documents. “I also told Amanda that there were no CPS records showing that he would be a danger.”

Told that refusing to abide by the court order was a felony, Hernandez asked for more time to think things over, the filings said. Alvarez said she had until 5 p.m. that day.

Alvarez tried texting Hernandez about an hour before the deadline, according to the documents. She got an automated response saying the number was no longer in service.

The investigator went to the address Hernandez had given the court. She didn’t get an answer. Alvarez couldn’t find her or obtain information on her whereabouts at other locations.

A day before Hernandez’s arrest, the investigator met with attorney Bobby Cloud, who is representing the father.

Cloud said Hernandez, at the March 4 hearing, told the commissioner she would not follow the court’s orders when asked to return at 1:30 p.m. following a recess. That’s when the commissioner made the ruling giving full custody to the father, he said.

Cloud also described the hearing to 17 News in March.

“We’re talking close to six months that my client wasn’t getting visits, and she just straight denied it,” Cloud said.

He added, “I would not have been able to get my client custody, had she not done what she did.”

In early April, however, Judge Jason W. Webster gave Hernandez temporary sole legal custody of the child, granted a temporary restraining order against the father, but gave him unsupervised visits the first, third and fifth weekends of the month, according to court records.

Hernandez is due back in court June 14.

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