[NBC] NJ Dad Fights for His Children After Wife Flees to Korea

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Violinist Alejandro Mendoza teaches during the day and performs at night in the Lion King orchestra on Broadway.

He once played a French violin made in 1902 but had to sell it for something he loves even more: his five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.

“I suspect they are in Korea but i’m not sure,” says Mendoza.

He says his wife took the children, then disappeared into her native country of South Korea — and the experience has bankrupted him emotionally and financially.

“I’m losing my house,” Mendoza said as he wiped away a tear.

This week his wife Si Nae Shim flew from Korea to Guam and was arrested on a warrant for her failure to return the children to New Jersey.

“She wanted the children to speak Korean, only they didn’t learn English,” said Mendoza.

Shim allegedly convinced Mendoza to move to a town south of Seoul. He says they were hurting financially so he returned to America to wait for his family that never showed up.

Shim tells the court and Korean authorities a much different story.

“Mrs. Shim, the mother, was told by her 5-year-old son there was some type of sexual abuse by the father to the 2-year-old daughter,” said Shim’s attorney Christine Bae.

Attorneys for Shim will provide the court with a South Korean psychiatric evaluation and a criminal report about the alleged incident. Both are dated nearly a month after Shim says she found out about the alleged sexual abuse.

Mendoza denies the charge, asking why, if she believed it, his wife fled rather than show up in court to gain legal custody of the children.
“Nobody contacted me. I don’t think my client was contacted at all. So we were very puzzled why she was arrested in the beginning,” said Bae.

Shim will be extradited on March 12. She plans on fighting the criminal charges. It’s not clear if or when the children will return to the U.S. for the divorce and custody proceedings.

Mendoza says his wife has allowed him to chat with his kids once a month through Skype, but he’s had no contact since his wife’s arrest.

He had this message for his son:

“Wait for Daddy. Be patient. I’m doing the best I can. Help your sister. I’m coming.”

by Tom Llamas, WNBC New York