Answering to the Law

"We're back in Illinois, and Mike's turned himself in today, and he's facing the courts for what he's done," says private investigator Harold Copus.


Before Mike went into the courtroom to face criminal charges, he was served with a temporary restraining order from Michelle, which means he can't see the girls or come within 300 feet of them. Inside the courtroom, the judge places Mike under arrest. To get out of jail, he will have to post a $5,000 bond.

"I gave him $500. Now, they're going to release him," says his father.

"I'm not allowed to go to California as a condition of my bond. I wish I could go," says a newly-released Michael. "I was looking forward to seeing my children there and getting the mediation started."

Michael will go to trial in two months on felony child abduction charges.

"Well, I'm really disappointed at what happened today," says Michael. "We had a commitment from Michelle. We were going to work this out through mediation with Dr. Phil, and instead of that she's turned around, she's broken her word, she's violated the agreement that she made, and now she wants them to prosecute me. We agreed that we were going to go to mediation and, it wasn't going to be necessary for me to go to jail or face criminal charges, and that's all been cast away by Michelle. My message to Dr. Phil would be that we need mediation instead of having something imposed on us that is not going to be satisfactory to either one."

Back in his studio, Dr. Phil asks Michelle, who is joined by her sister, Tammy, and Harold Copus, why she filed the restraining order.


"Well, on Monday, Michael had called the girls four times and after each call they were telling me different information. My oldest daughter told me that their dad was looking for a rental house in Indiana. She made the comment to me that, 'My dad will never survive in prison. If he has to go to jail, they'll kill him.' And it just seemed kind of strange, out-of-the-blue, because we weren't discussing anything that had happened." She confirms for Dr. Phil that she thinks Michael was telling the girls what he thought would get them to encourage Michelle to back off.

"Do you intend to back off?" he asks Michelle.

"No, I don't," she says.

Dr. Phil turns to Harold. "I just don't think that the authorities want to send a message that says, 'OK, abduct your children, run internationally until you get tired of running, and if you come back and say, "All right, sorry," then OK, we'll just let that go.' I mean, can the authorities send that kind of message to parents?"

"Absolutely not," Harold agrees. "Something has to be done, and he's going to have to answer to the law for what he's done now."

"It seems to me whether you want it to or not, the government has to deal with that," says Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil asks Harold what motivated Michael to return to the United States. From what Dr. Phil understands, conditions were harsher down there in terms of the standards of the community than what he thought. Plus, several American fugitives have wound up in Belize. Consequently, bounty hunting has emerged as an industry there. Bounty hunters track American fugitives and drag them back to the government or put them in Belizian prisons. "And hadn't someone approached Michael a short time before this and asked him who he was and what he was doing there, that maybe he had been recognized?" asks Dr. Phil.

"That did happen," says Harold, "and he made the comment that if he could come up with $30,000 US, he might be able to get past some of his problems. He knew time was running out. He was going to have to face the music and come back to the United States."