Bride-to-be discovers she was abducted by her own mother 26 years ago
10th October 2010
A bride-to-be has discovered she was abducted by her own mother 26 years ago.
Melissa Reed - whose real name is Eva Fiedler - disappeared with her mother during a bitter child custody battle in New Jersey in 1984. At the time she was just six years old.
Now she is 32. Engaged to be married, she discovered she could not obtain a marriage licence - because Melissa Reed is not her real name.
When suspicious authorities began asking questions, her mother - Nancy Dunsavage Fiedler, alias Debbie Reed - came clean.
Now Eva has had her first conversation with her father in 26 years - while her mother has been arrested.
Fiedler had been granted custody of her daughter after her divorce from Eva's father, named in reports as New Hampshire resident Greg Fiedler, in 1983.
But in 1984 he took his ex-wife to court, accusing her of denying him visitation rights to their daughter.
He was granted ten days custody of Eva - and Fiedler, who accused her ex of being abusive, panicked.
In Nevada court papers she said she feared for her life, accusing her ex-husband of saying he would 'hunt us down' and 'end it all for both of us'.
'Day in and day out, fear and violence were part of my life,' she wrote.
'I fled because i had no money (for a lawyer)... and I wanted to remove my daughter from his life of threats and fear.
'I did not want this to be her future too.'
The mother and daughter have lived under a variety of aliases ever since - mostly in Nevada.
Eva never held a driver's licence or Social Security number, living virtually as a ghost.
When she tried to apply for a marriage licence, however, she was unable to get one without photo ID.
At that point, both she and her mother tried to legally change their names to the aliases they had used so long - Melissa and Debbie Reed.
It is not clear why Melissa, or Eva, believed that a name change was necessary.
But authorities began asking questions - and within hours police had confronted Fiedler in their home.
She confessed. 'The wedding is set, the guests are committed and she cannot get a marriage licence because she has no photo ID,' she wrote in court papers.
'This has brought me to the [realisation] that we cannot continue living like this.'
Now she is facing extradition back to New Jersey to face the kidnapping charge.
Meanwhile Eva and her father, now 62, have had their first conversation in 26 years - and it did not, apparently, go well.
'It was the most difficult conversation I’ve ever had,' Mr Fiedler told local website NJ.com.
'I had nothing to relate to,' he added. 'Twenty-six years have gone by.'
They appear to have had an especially tense moment when he asked her to tell him why she had filed to change her name.
He claimed he said: 'Eva Marie, this is your father speaking. I know who you are. There has to be a reason you are trying to change your name. '
But she would not elaborate, he said.
'She was taken aback by everything,' he said. 'I was a little disappointed. She's still trying to protect her mother.'
Police do not believe that Eva Fiedler knew anything about the case, said Sgt. Frank Roman, commander of major crimes for the Somerset County Prosecutor's office in New Jersey.
'It is still a very active investigation, but we believe she was not aware of this, no,' Roman told The Associated Press.
Roman said that Eva Fiedler should be treated as a victim in the case, but 'it's not like she was ever in any danger or anything like that.'