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Vietnamese woman reported missing with kids by ex-American partner reappears

Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 14:12 GMT+7

A Vietnamese woman who was reported missing over four months ago by her former American partner along with their alleged Vietnamese-American children turned herself in to police in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.

Duong Thi Kim Phuong, 39, turned up at the Binh Hung Hoa Ward police station in Binh Tan District at midnight yesterday, newswire Vietnamplus reported.

However, her two children, 7-year-old Duong Thai, or Morgan, and 6-year-old Duong Ly, or Ly Ly, who she allegedly shares with Kenn Smith, an American expat living in the city, remain nowhere to be found now.

Smith said Monday afternoon that he is willing to take a DNA test to prove that Thai and Ly are his biological children, and complete other legal procedures to earn the custody of the kids.

In a November 23, 2013 Facebook post, Smith wrote that the two kids had been taken away by Phuong, his former partner, without his consent.

He then reported the missing case to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the U.S. Consulate General in the southern hub.

According to Smith, Phuong also took along her own youngest son, whom the woman shares with her current husband.

Smith and Phuong were in a relationship in 2005 and planned to get married.

However, he learned that Phuong had completed her divorce procedures with her former husband only one month before the date Smith and the Vietnamese woman intended to register their marriage.

Smith then decided to break up with Phuong, but continued to cohabit as she was pregnant with their reported first child.

Until November 2013, the couple usually fought and spoke ill of each other. Some local newswires have covered their hassles.

Smith added that Phuong was plunged into serious financial difficulties and showed signs of slight mental disorder prior to her disappearance.

The American also stressed that Phuong had threatened to poison the two kids, Thai and Ly, if he refused to meet her financial requests.

He also claimed that the two kids have not received proper care or education, which is putting them at a serious disadvantage.

Vietnamplus, a subsidiary of the official Vietnam News Agency, quoted a source as saying that Phuong appeared at the apartment 808B in the Gia Phu apartment building on Binh Tan District’s Le Trong Tan Street on Monday afternoon.   Smith arrived at the apartment building shortly, only to learn that she had left some 30 minutes before and headed for an acquaintance’s house in District 7.

Smith immediately reported it to police, who then launched a search.

By around 9:00 pm on Monday, Phuong was said to be seen at a house in District 7’s Binh Thuan Ward, where an energy company is located.

The Binh Thuan Ward police arrived quickly, but Phuong again had left for suburban Nha Be District some minutes beforehand with Thai.

The police then intensified their search for “a woman with a Vietnamese-American boy [Thai].”

Around 10:30 pm the same day, locals reported that Phuong contacted a man, T., whom she had trusted Ly with, and told him to carry the little girl over to her current place.

Local police managed to persuade Phuong and some others involved through phone calls and short messages, which led to the woman turning herself in to the police at midnight on Tuesday. 

They are now conducting further investigations and verifying the addresses of the people which Phuong had taken her children to, based on her April 1 statements to local police.

Vietnamplus reported that the Vietnamese woman could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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