Reunion With Son in Brazil “Imminent”

Asbury Park Press
Reunion With Son in Brazil “imminent”
by Bill Handelman
February 7, 2009

e has waited four and a half years for this, suffering many painful setbacks along the way, but now David Goldman will apparently get to see his son, Sean.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., who accompanied Goldman to Brazil, emerged from a five-hour hearing Friday and said that the reunion of father and son is “imminent.”

“It’s only the first step,” Smith added, “but it’s a good first step. It’s a breakthrough. For him to get to see his son for the first time in four and a half years, that’s a breakthrough. It’s very encouraging.”

Goldman and Sean’s stepfather, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, were among those who testified Friday before a court in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. Both were instructed to speak to no one about the case, but Smith was under no such gag order.

“David did a magnificent job,” the congressman reported. “He made his best case. He stayed disciplined and the love he has for his son came through. There’s only one father, and he’s it.”

Goldman, who lives in Tinton Falls, last saw his son on June 16, 2004. That was the day the boy’s mother took him to Brazil on what was supposed to be a two-week vacation.

However, Bruna Goldman called her husband soon after she arrived in Brazil and told him she was never coming back to New Jersey.

If he ever wanted to see Sean again, she said, Goldman would have to come to Brazil and sign some papers her lawyer had drawn up.

Bruna later married Lins e Silva in 2007 and had their baby on Aug. 22, 2008. She died eight hours after giving birth.

Since Bruna’s death, Goldman has traveled to Brazil three times, but was stymied in his efforts to see Sean.

He has yet to see his son despite a Brazilian judge granting him visitation in October. That month, armed with the court order, Goldberg went to the condominium complex where the boy lived only to be told that the stepfather had taken the boy away.

In recent weeks the case has received more media attention. A week ago NBC devoted a full hour to the story on “Dateline,” a prime-time program. Since then, more than 20,000 people have signed a petition on Goldman’s Web site,, supporting him.

Smith had watched that “Dateline” segment which aired Jan. 30, contacted Goldman and arranged a meeting Monday, at which point he said he would go to Brazil with him.

He said, “Wherever you go, I go,’ ” Goldman recalled.

On Wednesday, Smith submitted House Resolution 125, calling on the Brazilian government “to immediately discharge all its duties under the Hague Convention . . . to obtain the return of Sean Goldman.”

“We really need to raise the level of visibility,” Smith, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on his way to the airport that night.

On Thursday, Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both D-N.J., sent a letter to the Brazilian president asking him to examine the case and take the appropriate action to reunite Sean with his father.

Smith is staying in Brazil with Goldman.

“It was a draining day for David,” Smith said Friday evening. “But he stayed disciplined. I don’t know how he does it sometimes.”

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