Man refused to return child to mother in custody agreement

BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon man has been arrested after allegedly picking up his child after school without permission and threatening to leave the state.

Thomas Lee Underwood, 35, was arrested for child concealment, a felony, by Cpl. B.K. Wright with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

On Oct. 9, Wright received a statement from the mother of the child who stated that her husband, Underwood, picked up their child after school on Oct. 8 without permission and refused to bring the child home, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office.

The mother provided a domestic order of protection issued by the Upshur County Family Court which granted custody to the mother with the father having weekend visitation as directed by Tri-County Visitation, according to the criminal complaint.

The mother further stated that Underwood threatened to leave the state with the child and that he had made several attempts to meet with the mother to exchange the child but that “she refused to go to those places due to she feared for her safety.”

With Wright’s assistance, the mother made arrangements to meet with the father at a specified location near Route 33 but Underwood never showed up.

Wright attempted to make contact with Underwood but had to leave a message.

The mother then advised Wright that she had been contacted by Underwood who allegedly told her, “I hear you got the state police involved. You done screwed up.”

Underwood was arraigned Friday before Magistrate Mike Coffman who set bond at $150,000 — $10,000 cash and $140,000 surety.

Underwood was also ordered not to be at the child’s  school and to obey the no-contact provision of bail.

Child concealment carries a possible penalty of confinement in the state penitentiary of not less than one nor more than five years, or at the discretion of the court, shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000, or both.


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