US Mother, Daughter Trapped in Brazil Face Legal Battle

Family stuck in Brazil after visit to the girl's father turned into an intense custody battle.
2:31 | 07/05/13

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Transcript for US Mother, Daughter Trapped in Brazil Face Legal Battle
Thank you so much. We turn, now, to the high-stakes international battle over a little girl. A massachusetts mom says she is strapped in brazil because her ex-husband is trying to use that country's laws to grab custody of their daughter. Abc's gio benitez is here with her story. Good morning, gio. Reporter: Good morning, lara. This mother thought she was taking her daughter to brazil to see her father. Instead, the three-week trip turned into an intense legal battle. Now, the mother says she and her little girl are being held against their will. This morning, shauna haddon and her 6-year-old daughter, ava, say they have no way to come back to the u.S. Brazilian officials confiscating their passports, after the father went to court. The drama started after memorial day. Haddon, who has full custody, was planning a three-week trip to brazil, with little ava. He hasn't seen her in four years. Reporter: When they arrived in brazil, haddon said her ex-husband went to court to get custody of ava. He was denied that, hadden says. But the judge said he was allowed a supervised visit no later than today. Along with ordering that ava turn over her passport. When police came to her door, hadden said she surrendered hers, as well. If I get pulled over and ask me for my documents, they could throw me in prison. Reporter: More than a month later, the u.S. State department has not been able to get hadden and ava, out of brazil. Saying in to statement, the department will continue to monitor the case closely. When are you supposed to get those passports back? I have no time frame. I have no idea. Reporter: Stateside, hadden's family is worried sick. The only comforting thoughts for my whole family is, she's staying with a wonderful family. Reporter: Massachusetts senator elizabeth warren and congressman richard neal, are calling for mother and daughter's return. We're going to follow up. We're going to pursue this. Reporter: During our interview, little ava tells us, she's sad and wants to come home. At one point, interrupting her mom to say this about her dad. Mommy, he's being mean to us. Reporter: And the state department tells abc news, that u.S. Officials have discussed the case with the brazilian foreign ministry to ensure mother and child get all legal protections they're entitled to. We've not been able to reach the child's father or his attorneys. Was there any option for her not to hand over her passport. She had no choice. She had to hand it over. Going to weigh in on the next story we were talking

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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