Missing 7-year-old Found in Miami 11-29-00

PHONE: 961-2254
NOVEMBER 29, 2000


A 7-year-old boy missing from his Big Island home for two years was found in Miami on Thanksgiving Day and returned to Hilo over the past weekend.

Tomas Celestino Traverso, also known as “Woogie” to his friends and family, was recognized at the Miami International airport when entering the United States from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Several days before the boy’s arrival, the Missing Child Center-Hawaii had been alerted that the boy’s reputed biological father would be entering the United States. Miami Dade police arrested the father, Thomas Traverso Sr., in the greeters area outside Customs at the airport.

The boy had been missing since April 1998, when he failed to return after visiting his father. Sometime later, it was believed the child had been taken to Argentina.

“The recovery of Woogie was a cooperative effort between many agencies, each playing a vital role,” said Anne Clarkin, coordinator of the Missing child Center-Hawaii.

Clarkin credited a number of federal, state and county officials with cooperating in the recovery of the child, including Lieutenant Larry Weber and Detective Earl Hatada of the Hawaii County Police Department’s Juvenile Aid Section and Terry Trusdale of the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office.

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