Dutch Court Mulls Removing Sailor Girl From Home

Dekker's father may lose custody
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2009 5:00 AM CST
Laura Dekker arrives to board a flight back to the Netherlands at the Princess Juliana International Airport on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten    (AP Photo/Gromyko Wilson)
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(Newser) – Runaway teen sailor Laura Dekker has returned home to a custody battle in the Netherlands. Child welfare authorities have asked a court to remove the 14-year-old from her father's custody and place her either with her mother or in foster care, Reuters reports. Dekker was reported missing last week after flying alone to a Caribbean island.

A lawyer for Dekker's father complained that the panel of judges deciding the custody case may be biased because they are the same judges that barred the girl from embarking on a round-the-world solo sailing trip this year. Dekker ran away because she was depressed by the emotional pressure of her situation and media scrutiny, the lawyer says.

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