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Giovanni Burrows in Jacksonville, but custody hearing cancelled

An emergency hearing regarding the future of a Bermudian teenager was cancelled yesterday, leaving a father in limbo.

Jasai Swan-Burrows was five-years-old when his mother, Kim Swan, left the Island with temporary custody of the boy.

Since then, his father Giovanni Burrows has spent years trying to track down his son. That search ended on Thursday when police in Jacksonville arrested Ms Swan for interference with child custody.

Since the saga began, Ms Swan had a second child, a daughter fathered by a Bermudian.

Yesterday Mr Burrows was in the north Florida city to attend an emergency hearing, hoping to bring 14-year-old Jasai back to Bermuda, but that hearing was cancelled.

Family friend Sonja Baptiste said: “They found Kim Swan in Jacksonville with the children. That was on February 2 in the afternoon, and as far as Jasai and his little sister, they were transferred to foster care.

“Mr Burrows got to Jacksonville late (Sunday) night for the hearing. He didn't even have enough money to get a hotel room. This search has left him strapped.

“Giovanni spoke to Jasai. He said it seems Jasai is not happy with having to leave the United States, but he's optimistic that his little sister will be coming along soon after.

“We understand that there are relatives in Bermuda who are interested in taking her in, but she is American, so it will be much harder.”

In the meanwhile, she said Mr Burrows is remaining in Jacksonville to fight for custody of his son as he can no longer afford a lawyer to represent him.

Over the past nine years, she said Mr Burrows has spent a huge sum trying to find his son and bring him back to Bermuda. Several times they felt that the search was over, only to have hope torn from their grasp.

Mr Burrows had previously travelled to Clearwater, Florida to pick up his son.

A caretaker took the teenager to the Clearwater Main Library to await the end of the hearing art the county courthouse, but the boy told the caretaker he had to go to the bathroom and instead met with his mother.

Prior to Thursday's arrest, Mrs Baptiste said they knew police were close, but had to remain tight lipped.

“The time before last she was tipped off before they got there,” Mrs Baptise said. “They found an empty house with children's toys still there.”

Even yesterday, Mrs Baptise said she was concerned the painful story wasn't over.

“I'm in disbelief. After all that has happened, I feel like I have drawn a line in the sand. When I can see him and tough him I will believe it,” she said. “That's when this will be over.

“Until then, I'm not going to get my hopes up.”

Giovanni Burrows

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Published February 06, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated February 06, 2012 at 8:54 am)

Giovanni Burrows in Jacksonville, but custody hearing cancelled

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