Christian parents have asked for prayer and government intervention after kidnappers allegedly abducted their 3-year-old son from their home in Kenya.
Daisy and Matt Mazzoncini began caring for Kiano three years ago when Daisy met him at a children's home. Baby Kiano weighed just 4.5 kilos, or not quite 10 pounds, at 6 months old. The child has been in and out of the hospital since he was a baby and is still prone to seizures.
The couple, who had attended Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry, welcomed Kiano into their homes and hearts.
But on April 5, everything changed.
"Out of nowhere, these people came to our house. It was like 13 people," says Daisy Mazzoncini in a YouTube video.
"We believe this is happening because we have refused to be extorted," Daisy says. "We have refused to bribe at every turn. We've done everything through the court, through the government, and we are aware that this is happening to other people."
BBC reported that in a tweet, police initially claimed responsibility for taking Kiano, but quickly deleted the tweet and distanced themselves from the abduction, saying it was not a sanctioned action by the DCI.
"The police should not play ignorant of the operation, yet they even refused to allow our client to record the case at the Spring Valley station. They referred us to Kiambu DCI and later DCI headquarters," Mazzoncini lawyer James Singh says.
A local Kenyan activist, Boniface Mwangi, offered more details in a Facebook page.
"Matt and Daisy rushed to the Spring Valley Police station to file a kidnapping report and were informed that the child had been 'rescued' from child traffickers by officers from Directorate of Criminal Investigations," Mwangi says in his post. "Matt and Daisy were accused of being child traffickers and misleading the Children's Court of Kenya with fraudulent medical reports, but they haven't been interrogated by the police or arrested."
Mwangi says that Mazzoncinis are a target of a cartel run by Irene Mureithi, CEO of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.
"She is the one who lied that Kiano was a victim of trafficking and orchestrated the kidnapping of Baby Kiano," Mwangi says. "There are many adoptive parents who have gone through hell because of Irene Mureithi, and if you're a victim or know a victim, please speak out."
Local media outlets have picked up the story, which is gaining international attention.
James Gitau Singh, the new lawyer for the Mazzoncinis, told the Star yesterday that the search for the missing child has so far been unsuccessful.
The child was taken away by two women with covered faces. They did not take with them his prescribed medicines and efforts to leave the drugs at Spring Valley police station by the parents were resisted by the station's OCS until the American embassy intervened.
It is not clear whether the child is taking the anti-seizure drugs as required. His guardians are worried that the boy may suffer fits unless the drugs are administered regularly and correctly.
Kenya National Commission of Human Rights chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori complained of impunity.
"While all the tussles between the couple and the Children Welfare Society of Kenya continue, no one seems to be paying attention to the state of this child," she said. "Who cares for this fragile child? He is sick and has been sickly for all of his time on earth."
Mbogori said that the police were wrong to take the child from his legal guardians when the court order of guardianship had not been revoked.
"The couple has spent a humongous amount of money in caring for this child, whose real mother dumped him alongside his twin in a plastic bag," Mbogori told the Star.
"There are valid court orders and valid medical records. If the welfare thinks they were fabricated, why not charge the couple with a criminal offense but let the child be and his care continue? This is inhuman treatment," she said.
A top official from the Children Welfare Society last week told the Star they wanted the legal guardianship reviewed. He alleged that Daisy Mazzoncini had impeded independent review of the medical history of the child.
Though all parties were due in court on April 24, the hearing was delayed two weeks.
A source close to the couple says they are asking for Christians from the United States to raise awareness for #BringKianoHome, as believers carry weight with the Trump administration.
Kiano's plight has attracted the attention of multiple celebrities.
View this post on Instagram
The Mazzoncini family are friends of mine and this is a real story, with real urgency. Please help not only spread the word, but reach out to anyone God may put on your heart who can help here or in Kenya. #Repost @jkoephoto ・・・ This is my best friend @mattmazzoncini their child Kiano was abducted, he's been missing for 20 days without his seizure medication. Link to the CBN News story in my bio. @bbcnews can you look into this @state.house.kenya can you help #BringKianoHome #prayforkiano. @hodakotb @todayshow can you help shed light on this.
My close friend's baby has just been kidnapped ! Please pray.— Natasha Bedingfield (@natashabdnfield) April 12, 2019
I've known Daisy all of my life . She and her husband are good people and are legal guardians of a 3 year old Kenyan boy. Hard to know what's going on but we fear it could be some kind of corruption or extortion
My friend's kid has been kidnapped - please read and share https://t.co/VoJfmJOl1z— Natasha Bedingfield (@natashabdnfield) April 12, 2019
Musician Ed Sheeran also posted about Kiano in his Instagram stories.
To hear the couple's plea, watch the video.
"We're speaking out, and we want everyone that has ever experienced anything like this to speak out, because if we bring this issue into the light, it's something that we know will be addressed," Matt says. "But the first step is that we all tell our stories and that we show that this is real, and it's really happening, and it's hurting kids."
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