Family Law

Man duped legal system into taking baby from mom by using imposter, prosecutors say

After a young woman he had allegedy beaten fled the state with their infant daughter, a Washington man tricked the legal system into taking the baby from the mother without giving the 20-year-old woman an opportunity for a single court hearing, authorities say.

Eling McCabe Orton, 33, has now been charged with custodial interference and perjury in a King County criminal case, reports the Seattle PI.

The mother gave birth in December, and then moved with their daughter to Texas. In January, Orton sought a court-supervised parenting plan and tricked a process server into giving the paperwork to an impersonator rather than the real mom, according to prosecutors in Seattle. Then Orton filed for and got sole custody in a default judgment, because the real mom failed to appear at a court hearing–which she had never been notified of because she had never been served, the newspaper reports.

Relying on the Washington state ruling, authorities in Texas seized the baby from the unidentified mother on Jan. 27 and gave the 2-month-old infant to Orton. A hearing was supposed to be held subsequently in Texas, but Orton allegedly fled the state with the baby and returned to Washington.

“The defendant has gone to great lengths perpetrating this fraud,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff said in charging papers, adding that Orton had also involved “numerous members of his family” in the deception.

Orton was booked into the King County Jail on Friday, where he is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

It is not clear from the article where the baby is now.

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