The Terrible Abduction of Four Children

Parental child abduction is by itself devastating, but when compounded with parental alienation with false accusations of violence, an abductor’s criminal activity, and personal attacks on all those who have known and loved the children, it can be catastrophic.

This is an unbelievable but true story of the abduction of four US children taken from their custodial parent and their community, during a visitation by the non-custodial parent. The family was being monitored by court-appointed psychologists as well as Social Services for about three years.

After the father filed for divorce, the mother embarked on a campaign to alienate the children by beginning to accuse him and other family members of domestic violence. As reported in the Italian press (leading national paper La Repubblica and La Nazione), the mother, Marianne Grin, a Harvard educated lawyer who has dual US and Russian citizenship, was found by the court appointed psychologist (Dr. Armando Ceccarelli) to suffer from severe mental illness.

In his court report to Judge Papait in June 2011, Dr. Ceccarelli says “The mother’s behavior and her relationship with the children … As we have already observed in the occasion of the previous monitoring, Ms. Grin […] appears a person suffering psychologically. Her behaviors are unpredictable and bizarre, guided by paranoid fantasy, of being a subject of a ‘plot’ and of ‘persecution’ in part by the Tribunal and by the ‘institutions’ in general (she manifests a strong distrust even of Social Services and Pediatric Neuropsychiatry). Considering the behavioral picture that emerges from all people that have had contact with the mother, we believe that there should be a new deep psychiatric evaluation of Ms. Grin, there being strong suspicions of a very gravely disturbed personality. In a similar context of mental illness, the relationship of the mother with the children is of strong psycho-pathological risk.”

He goes on to say: “The benefit to the children of psychotherapy and the quality of the father’s environment (and not only the simple removal of the mother) are in our opinion the two principle resources to use to avoid that the children are damaged psychologically by the behavior of the mother.”

The court-appointed psychologist, Dr. Ceccarelli, did not recommend protected visits for the mother saying “The reduction in frequency or the change in mode of the visits would not reduce in fact, in our opinion, the risk of inducing psycho-pathologies, enhancing instead the experience of persecution and paranoia that the mother tends to induce in the children. Action of further “limitations” in time with the mother could in fact be read as “confirmation” of her paranoiac fantasies.”

Unfortunately Ms. Grin, unhappy with the court decision, acted at the end of August 2011 when she had her visitation days consecutively. She kidnapped the children, escaping from Italy, in clear violation of the court decree. In this way, she actually increased “the risk of inducing psycho-pathologies […] in the children”… an outcome that the court-appointed psychologist, obviously, did not consider.

Now, she refuses to tell anyone where she is keeping the children and is refusing to let them have any contact with their father, the maternal grandmother (who says her daughter has refused any type of contact in the past 15 years), the paternal grandparents, the paternal aunt and uncle and a maternal uncle (her brother) nor any of their school friends. The children do not seem to be going regularly to school, just as happened in Florence when they were with the mother. Ms. Grin has no family in Russia so it is concerning that the children are alone with her, possibly locked up somewhere.

Background to the Escape
On December 7, 2010 the Court of Florence issued an order: “A) providing custody of minor children […] exclusively to the father, to be domiciled at his home; B) the mother will see the children […] every week on Friday, from the end of school until Saturday at 15:00 […] and – on alternate weeks – from the end of school on Friday through Sunday afternoon at 17:00” … “The court orders Marianne Grin to comply with the above measures, leaving open the possibility of supervised visits in the event of non-compliance.”

Courts in Italy award sole exclusive custody to fathers less than 2% of the time ( In 2009 “86.2% of separations with children were with joint custody, as opposed to 12.2% in which custody of the children was awarded exclusively to the mother.”)

The Court appointed psychologist’s report to the judge dated November 2010 said:
“From what emerges from the monitoring, we retain necessary to suggest to the Court some modification in respect to the actual organization of the life of the minors. Currently, the center of the daily life of the children is situated at the maternal residence and the mother is the figure that is prevalently requested to care for the minors. Faced with this task however, Ms. Grin has until today demonstrated to be inadequate. She has not collaborated with the other figures that take care, in various forms, of the children (Social Services, Therapists, educators from the Jewish Community) resulting frequently unavailable, contrasting and at times hindering their work. Also with respect to school frequency, the mother has demonstrated a bizarre and unpredictable behavior: she goes to pick up the children before the end of the lessons; she does not bring them to school, at times without valid reasons.”

We at bringflorentinekidshome believe these were more than enough reasons to take away the custody from the mother and place the children solely with the father. But this is not the whole story. There are multiple levels to this incredible tale, and it gets darker than could ever have been imagined. We will save those recounts for future reading…

As Lord Byron said, “Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.”

Some of the press on the story

English articles:

Italian articles:

Russian articles



22 responses to “The Terrible Abduction of Four Children

  1. Daniel Mastropietro

    I also express my support to this site and the search of the missing children. I wish you the best of luck in this process!

  2. This is a sad story to read. I hope the children will be found soon enough to be back witht the father.

  3. This is a real tragedy for this loving family. My thoughts and support go to them, and I hope the children come back to a normal, loving, and safe environment very soon, from where they should never have been removed in the first place.

  4. Chris and Heather

    Our family has known Mike and the kids pretty much through this entire crisis, and it is an absolute tragedy what has happened. Mike is a wonderful, loving father who would walk over hot coals for his children. That this should have happened is terrible. His former wife is deeply disturbed, and the children were far better off in his custody. Now they have been kidnapped to Russia, and it is not at all clear that they are in safe or sane circumstances. One can only imagine how they feel being wrenched from their family life in Florence. What are the Italian and US governments doing to set this right, and how can the Russian authorities stand by and let this go on? Oh for the day when we can welcome the kids back to Florence! All our love to you Sara, Elly, Ezi, and Sam!
    Chris, Heather, Sam and Lili

  5. Questi bambini hanno bisogno dell’affetto del padre e dei loro parenti, hanno diritto a vivere una vita spensierata e felice. Speriamo che tornino presto a casa.

  6. Wow … “Ms. Grin has until today demonstrated to be inadequate.” … “we believe that there should be a new deep psychiatric evaluation of Ms. Grin, there being strong suspicions of a very gravely disturbed personality.” but the Italian court gave her unsupervised visitation? What does it take in Italy in order to protect children? The Italian court should be ashamed!

  7. Max Troitsky, a Russian-speaking US Citizen from Pennsylvania is in a sad situation. His estranged wife ( Anna Troitsky a.k.a. Anna Demyanyuk ), a US-Russian dual citizen illegally abducted their US-born US-citizen toddler daughter Julie Troitsky (to Moscow, Russia) in late November 2011, against the US Court Order, and all the details of this bizarre and unfortunate case are here: (site in English and Russian)
    and on Facebook:
    and on Twitter:

    Thank you for the help, leads and following of this case…

  8. I just want to add my comment of support for this family and hope that the children are able to return soon to their lives, friends, family and activities in Florence. I have known this family well for many years (both parents) and fully support the Italian judge’s ruling for full parental custody to the father. It is such a tragic situation, but the mother often did not send the children to school when they were with her and now it seems she is doing this to them in Russia as well! And what does this say about the Russian schools where these four wonderful children are that they don’t even respond to the family’s attempts to reach out and contact them? How can anyone who cares for children not even respond to emails or calls for them from a family that hasn’t heard from them in almost 6 months?! I know there are so many of us in Florence who are worried sick about this story and hope every day that some kind of positive resolution happens soon. I’m so glad to see this blog and this space for us to voice our concern and our support.

  9. This is an unbelievably tragic and dangerous situation for these poor, innocent children. I hope for the children that they’ll be reunited with their father soon.

  10. These poor children, my heart goes out to them and to their family members left behind here in Florence. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this is for everyone intimately affected by this deplorable crime. Let us all imagine a positive outcome for this story, with the children returning as quickly as possible to this place where they truly belong.

  11. Speriamo davvero che gli equilibrismi e le prudenze diplomatiche non blocchino la risoluzione di questa brutta e complicata vicenda. Aspettiamo il ritorno a casa di questi bambini davvero speciali. speriamo che la loro grande intelligenza li aiuti a difendersi un pò dal grande scombussolamento che stanno vivendo ormai da troppo troppo tempo

  12. Sad sad story, My heart goes out to the father. This makes me very upset that the country that is known for loving children should allow the kidnapping of those poor little kids. Why wasn’t Marianne Grin stopped at the border? I wonder what the Italian police are doing to recover from their error? I hope Grin is captured soon and brought to justice, as there is no greater evil than harming children.

  13. Pingback: Bring Home Marianne Grin’s Children « The World is Going Crazy

  14. Signora Marianne, non so se in tutta questa storia tu hai ragionevoli motivi per fare quello che stai facendo, da quello che ho letto e capito non mi sembra tu sia dalla parte del giusto.
    Parlo della Giustizia che uno Stato come l’Italia ancora può garantire e della quale ti devi fidare, parlo anche di quella Giustizia davanti al tuo Dio al quale dovrai rispondere del bene o del male che stai facendo, ed infine parlo della Giustizia davanti ai tuoi Figli quando da adulti potranno giudicare quello che gli hai riservato e come li hai fatti crescere.
    Guardati dentro e chiediti se l’odio che porti dentro è più grande dell’Amore verso i tuoi Figli, chiediti se quello che stai facendo è Giusto, giudicati prima che la Vita lo faccia con Te !

  15. This is a such a terrible story, but unfortunately it’s not fiction; it’s this family’s current situation. My heart goes out these children and this entire family and I can only hope that these children return as quickly as possible to their safe, loving environment free from fear and the unknown. These kids are entitled to a stress-free childhood in their home of origin! Bring them home!!

  16. My prayers are with the children and I very much hope that soon the suffering will end and that the children will return home to Italy to their father (the only place they belong), to their family. their friends and their lives.

  17. An unbelievable story. The children should be home in Italy in a stable and secure environment.

  18. Such a sad sad situation…I have a family member who suffers from Schizophrenia and the most frustrating thing is that she never accepted or recognized her condition or actions as something as not normal- which they say is the most difficult part of treating someone with these illnesses. As a mother myself, I can only imagine the pain that this family is going through. I really hope that Marianne will do the best thing for her children and reunite them with their family. Every child deserves a loving family and peaceful environment to grow up in!

  19. As a person who as an adult suffered while in a relationship with a mentally ill adult and needed the support and love of my family and friends to survive I can only imagine how this is impacting the children. The kids need to be home in Italy with their father, extended family, friends and classmates so they can live a stable life free from the stress and worries brought about by their mother’s mental illness.

  20. E’ pazzesco che dopo tutti questi mesi, nessuno sia ancora riuscito a fare niente per riportarli a casa…..

  21. I know enough the story and the father family to say that it is unbelievable that the four children cannot have a normal life in a warm family and safe environment in Florence.
    I really hope that they will be able to come back soon and be little kids again. Caterina

  22. Bravissimi! Il sito è stupendo.
    Speriamo bene per i bimbi! Ci mancano tantissimo!

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