Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento dad didn’t kidnap his kids from Arkansas, lawyer says

Aaron Young
Aaron Young Booking photo, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

An attorney for a father accused of kidnapping his children in Arkansas says the man had an understanding with their late mother that he would have full custody of them upon her death.

Aaron Young, 24, was taken into custody Tuesday evening by the Sacramento Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team. Sacramento County sheriff’s officials said he was arrested on a warrant out of Arkansas for kidnapping his two 6-year-old twins. They said Young did not have legal custody of the children and had fled Arkansas with them Oct. 27.

Sacramento attorney Michael Wise, who is representing Young, said in a news release Wednesday that Young had a co-parenting relationship with the children’s mother, Daresha Blanchard, who recently died of cancer. Wise said Young had been actively involved with his children, and he and Blanchard had agreed that he would care for them when she died.

“Mr. Young and Ms. Blanchard had no formal orders for parenting, custody or support, but rather had an effective and productive informal agreement which included Mr. Young visiting his children several times a year, alternating between him traveling to Arkansas and the children traveling to California,” Wise said.

To Young’s knowledge, there was no court order precluding him from full-time parenting his children in California, Wise said. Young and his girlfriend planned to raise the twins with Young’s third child, he said.

When Young was arrested, he was told Blanchard’s family had secured a temporary custody order without notifying him, Wise said. As part of securing the order, Blanchard’s family in Arkansas falsely indicated that Young was not actively involved in the children’s lives, according to Wise.

Young was booked into Sacramento County jail and is being held without bail pending an extradition hearing.

“Mr. Young looks forward to defending these charges in a manner that will reveal the truth of his relationship with his children, his integrity as a father and his motive, which has always been their best interest,” Wise said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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