Dublin teenager at center of Utah controversy returned to Ireland

The Irish Immigrant/September 21, 2010

The 14-year-old Dublin teenager who had refused to return home after visiting her sister in Provo, Utah, amidst allegations that her mother regularly physically abused her, has been picked up by her father and has returned to Ireland.

Shannon Cowan's adult half-sister, Melita Carter, had obtained a temporary protective order against their mother Caroline Cowan through Provo's 4th District court, with the aim of preventing her from taking Shannon back to Ireland.

Carter left Ireland for Utah shortly before her 18th birthday and has lived there for almost six years. She lived with her mother in Dublin until the age of nine before moving in with her father.

The story had caused quite a lot of debate in Ireland as Shannon should be back in school in Dublin by now and was only supposed to stay in the US for the summer before returning home in August.

Caroline Cowan recently said on radio in Ireland she was worried that Mormons in Utah were keeping her child in an effort to brainwash her. The mother is herself a former Mormon.

Speaking with The Irish Emigrant from Provo, Melita Carter said Shannon was taken out of her Latter-Day Saints seminary class at Timpview High School on Wednesday, and that she (Carter) was ordered to surrender her sister's passport or face arrest.

Her attorney told her the protective order had been dismissed as it pertained to the teen. A judge then issued a pick-up order for the return of the girl to her father, Ian Cowan, and also a temporary restraining order against Carter.

"We were set for a hearing to have our protective order made permanent on September 20th, but the police showed up at our house on Wednesday with an order to pick up Shannon and return her to Ireland.

"She was enrolled in school here, doing really well, getting A's in her classes. She felt safe here. It felt like a new beginning. The last I heard from her was when she borrowed a lady's phone and called me from a road stop in Sandy (Utah). She was hiding in the restroom, and just kept saying how she loved me."

Melita Carter said Gardaí in Ireland told her that she would need to travel to Dublin to fill out a report in person in order for them to look into the allegations.

"If I could find the money, that's exactly what I'd do." she said, before adding that her sister was scheduled to be on a flight to from Salt Lake City to Ireland at 8:40am on Thursday last.

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