Testimony of Vithanage Santhilatha ("Renuka") before Judge Lawrence Janow





IN RE: Custody of Jessica Vithanage )




Amherst, Virginia

December 19, 1990



Court Reporter

517 Leesville Rd., Suite 1

Lynchburg, Virginia 24502

(804) 237-1151



Legal Aid Society of Lynchburg

Also present:

ISMAIL SLOAN (Samuel Sloan)

Vithanage Santhilatha (Renuka)



TESTIMONY OF RENUKA ----------------------------------- 13

TESTIMONY OF CHARLES ROBERTS ---------------------- 50

TESTIMONY OF ISMAIL SLOAN ---------------------------- 65

[ pages 41-43]

A Eighteen

Q Eighteen?

A Seventeen, almost going to be eighteen

MS BAKER: Thank you. I don't think I have anymore.

MR. SLOAN: Well --

THE COURT: No, you're not going to ask her any questions directly. If there are any questions you want to pose to me to ask to her, I'll ask them for you.

MR. SLOAN: I want to know how she came to know Boonchoo and John Sobell and what they had to do with this.


Q Do you know anyone named Boonchoo or Sobell?

A Yes. I know them

Q How do you know them?

A I know them, because when I was -- It's a long story, you know. When I was right from Sri Lanka to U.A.E., then I get telephone call from Charles Roberts and he told me Boonchoo, they hire him, they hire the lawyer Boonchoo to the legal custody of Shamema. And they told me my daughter, Jessica and Michael, they have nothing to eat and they are in Thailand and they were looking for Jessica's mother.

They already know Dayawathie was in New York and they was looking for me. They told me, Charles Roberts, he told me, "If you want to get your daughter back, you call them and find out." Then I called the Boonchoo and they gave his number and I called the Boonchoo and he told me I better to come over there, that without him my daughter will be dead already, because he just leave my daughter in the hotel room, he just go away and they are running around in the outside, in the main road, nobody care about them, and that how I know Boonchoo.

Q How about somebody named Sobell.

MR. SLOAN Sobell, S-o-b-e-l-l, John Sobell.

BY THE COURT: (Continuing)

Q John Sobell

A I know him, he was American man and he was working for Boonchoo. Also he called me in the U.A.E. and he told me to come over there and take my daughter. That how I know him.

THE COURT: Any other questions?

MR. SLOAN: Yeah. I want to know, when she came back to the United Arab Emirates, did Boonchoo call her up on the phone and threaten to kill her or make any threats against her, that she should hand over Shamema and Jessica?

BY THE COURT: (continuing)

Q Were there any threats made to you by anyone with regard to any of these children?

A Boonchoo, when I was in United Emirates, he called me in the house and he tell me he want I to turn Shamema to his side, otherwise he's gong to kill me and he going to tell something, I stole from his -- something., something like that, he told me. Then I get really scared and then I call Charles and Shelby and I tell them, "What happened, he was telling me something like I stole stuff and I have to turn Shamema to their side, otherwise they're going to kill me." I don't really get this scared, because they was in another country and I was in another country, far away. That's all.

[Testimony of Charles Roberts page 59]

BY THE COURT: (Continuing)

Q How much was paid for these services?

A Actually, I don't know if this was pertinent or not, but I don't have anything to hide. I paid him two installments of five thousand dollars. When Renuka went over there, she did not have a visa because there was no Thai embassy in the UAE, so she went straight over there without a visa and they held her there for a while. and then she contacted us and we told her to contract John Sobell - We contacted him and he went to the airport and located her and then they made arrangements to send her to Singapore to get a visa to come back into the country.

[Testimony of Charles Roberts page 60]

MR. SLOAN: Are you aware that Boonchoo threatened to kill Renuka if he didn't turn Shamema over to you.

THE WITNESS: I wasn't aware that he threatened to kill her. She called me by telephone and said he had scared her or upset her and I called John Sobell to find out just what was going on and he said it was just his way of trying to get her back on their side. Since apparently you had intimidated her back to your side, they wanted to try to scare her back to their side. I don't know exactly what he said or anything or the details of it, no.

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