Dad accused of trafficking his own daughter on United Airlines flight


The wife of a Mexican man who was accused of trafficking his own child on a United Airlines flight spoke out about the ordeal in a piece for the Huffington Post on Monday.

Maura Furfey, a Spanish teacher and mother of three, says that her husband and 3-year-old daughter were returning from a trip to Mexico to visit her husband's mother and great-grandmother, "who they see but once a year."

"This was precious time, time for my daughter to connect with her father's side of the family, and I embraced them going, while I stayed home because of work," Furfey wrote. "I had never imagined what would happen upon their return."

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Furfey says that while she was on her way to pick up her husband and child from Newark Airport, she was notified by phone that there had been an "incident" involving the two.

Apparently another passenger, who Furfey says was "obviously inebriated," expressed concern to an airline employee that the fair-skinned child didn't look like her Mexican father, raising suspicion that he had kidnapped her.

"This passenger had no basis for this claim, nor any evidence to back it up," noted Furfey.

The mother of three says she burst into tears when she learned the details of what her family had gone through.

After our 3-year-old snoozed on her father's lap for most of the flight, the plane landed. He texted me to tell me they had arrived. When the plane taxied to the gate, however, a number of officers from the Port Authority and Customs and Border Patrol boarded the plane, approached my husband and instructed him to grab his carry-ons and follow them. He and our daughter were escorted out of the plane before anyone else could get off.

Once out of the plane, four officers from Port Authority and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) surrounded them. They fired so many questions at him that he didn't know who was asking what. He had no idea what was going on. Our daughter started to cry in all of the commotion.

Furfey says that agents asked her husband where their daughter was born, who was there at the time of her birth, and where her birth certificate had been issued.

They only believed he was the child's father once they phoned Furfey and had her verify every detail of her husband's story.

%shareLinks-quote="In this hateful political climate, we have been prepared, or so I thought ― but we could never have been prepared for this." type="quote" author="Maura Furfey" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Furfey says that after her family's terrifying experience, she filed a complaint with United Airlines' customer service department.

An agent reportedly responded a few later with an apology and a $100.00 travel voucher, which Furfey says her family has no plan to ever cash in.

Furfey says she hopes that by sharing her story, she can bring about necessary reform in the airline industry and prevent any family from going through the painful ordeal that her's had to.

"It is more important to us that United and other airlines review its procedures," she wrote. "A simple check of the passports or flight records would clearly show that there was no problem in this situation and would have prevented the drama and stress that it created."