The Suburbanite
  • Perry dad unable to retrieve kidnapped daughters in Russia

  • On July 1,  Royce Sigler took a 28-hour trip to Sochi, Russia, to retrieve daughters Tanya and Kysena, who were taken there illegally by his ex-wife, Ekaterina, in 2008.

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  • The wait continues for a Perry Township man whose fight to recover his kidnapped children has spanned five years.
    On July 1, Royce Sigler took a 28-hour trip to Sochi, Russia, to retrieve daughters Tanya and Kysena, who were taken there by his ex-wife, Ekaterina, in 2008. He came home without them.
    Sigler has legal custody of the girls, who are 11 and 9.
    Ekaterina Sigler died in May, leaving her daughters in the care of their maternal grandmother — who reportedly fled with the girls.
    “My girls have been kidnapped on two separate continents,” said Sigler, a Dallas native who works for Chesapeake Energy. “The grandmother’s custody ran out on July 3. She goes to a (children’s services) agency on July 3 to extend it, and was told I was coming.”
    Sigler said an arrest warrant has been issued for his ex-mother-in-law, who reportedly fled without any belongings.
    “I spoke to the neighbors,” Sigler said. “She left the windows open and lights on.”
    Sochi, a city of about 500,000, is the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
    “We talked to almost everybody in Sochi; the deputy mayor, the police, the prosecutor,” Sigler said. “The authorities were sympathetic and wanted to help, but with the bureaucracy of Russia, it’s hard to get things moving, to get things done. We did all we can do, so we came home. We’re just waiting for her to show up . Whenever she shows up, the children’s agency will take the kids.”
    On June 30, St. George the Great Martyr Orthodox Church in Canton hosted a fundraiser dinner to help Sigler with travel and legal expenses. The dinner raised $2,500.
    Sigler said he’s made arrangements for the girls to be placed in the children’s camp once they’re located. That way they won’t have to stay in an orphanage. He’s also in the process of getting a six-month “multi-entrance” visa and acquiring Russian visas for the girls from the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
    “The uniqueness of the situation is still one of the major hurdles,” he said.
    Sigler said his ex-mother-in-law tried unsuccessfully to get the girls classified as orphans so she could collect benefits. Because she couldn’t, they’re at risk for ending up in an orphanage.
    “She could have added them to the title of her apartment, and it would have given them some ownership, to avoid the orphanage,” he said.
    Sigler added that he also believes his ex-mother-in-law told her neighbors that she was protecting them from an “abusive” father.
    “They were standoffish at first until they realized that ... her story wasn’t true,” he said. “Our conversations ended in a hug because they realized I was there for the well-being of the girls. It was a turning point.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Crediting his attorney for “fantastic work,” Sigler is optimistic he will regain custody.
    “It’s the only way I can be,” said Sigler, who has a daughter, Charlotte, 1, with his wife, Daley. “My attorney said you just cannot hide in Russia that long; the government has too much control. Plus, school starts there on Sept. 1. They’re in a very prestigious school, and she wouldn’t want them to miss that. She also could lose her apartment and pension if she doesn’t return.
    “It’s a waiting game.”
    Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @cgoshayREP

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