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Greenwich, Conn. Becomes Ground Zero For International Custody Battle

Dispute Turns Ugly When 3-Year-Old Girl Is Allegedly Snatched From Home

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GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – A wealthy international businessman is a wanted man.

He’s accused of snatching one of his five children, while the other four watched in shock. It all stems from a nasty custody battle. CBS 2’s Tony Aiello spoke with the worried mother of the missing girl on Tuesday.

Three-year-old Ruby Skolnick was taken Friday from a house her mother has been renting in Greenwich. Andrea Wainer said Ruby’s four older siblings are beside themselves with worry.

“They’re feeling very guilty, very sad. They’re feeling as if it’s their fault, that they didn’t protect their sister and their sister is gone,” Wainer said.

Ruby was taken on Friday evening from the home she was sharing with her mom and siblings, Aiello reported.

In court papers, a lawyer for Fred Skolnick admits his client took the child.

Wainer said she was out running an errand and the babysitter told her what happened.

“He forced his way into the home, started chasing children who were running away. He was able to get Ruby because she was slow and she was dragged out without her shoes on,” Wainer said.

Greenwich police don’t believe little Ruby Skolnick is in any imminent danger. That’s why they haven’t issued an AMBER Alert, but they have issued an arrest warrant for Fred Skolnick.

Earlier this year the family was living in Singapore, where Fred Skolnick is a top executive with a recruiting firm.

On the verge of a divorce and custody deal, Fred Skolnick claims Wainer suddenly fled Singapore with the children.

A longtime friend of Fred Skolnick called Aiello earlier Tuesday to say he’s a loving dad, worried about his kids.

The friend claims Ruby went willingly with Fred Skolnick on Friday and is being well cared for.

As in many a divorce each parent makes unpleasant claims about the actions of the other. Wainer’s attorney said the claims can be settled after Fred Skolnick comes forward with Ruby.

“If this gentleman wasn’t still hiding in the weeds with an unaccounted for child, I’d be willing to have an intellectual debate about who’s the better parent. But right now, I think everything stops until the whole world knows this child is safe,” Philip Russell said.

Fred Skolnick is due in federal court soon to argue his wife violated an international treaty when she left Singapore with the children. His lawyer is trying to broker a deal so he can attend the hearing, without being arrested on the warrant out of Greenwich, Aiello reported.

As for the other four children, they remain with their mother and started school on Tuesday. They have lived in Japan, Hong Kong, London and Singapore. Wainer said that’s created a very strong sibling bond and the older kids are very worried about their little sister, Aiello reported.

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