The battle over the custody of a little eight-year-old boy has sparked an international fight between Texas and Brazil.
Now the mother at the center of the kidnapping case is breaking her silence after five long years, detailing years of documented physical violence and sex addiction by the Houston doctor who has waged a public campaign to get his son back and have her family punished.
Brann has become a sympathetic figure among Houston media and Texas politicians.
Marcelle Guimaraes fled to Brazil in July 2013 with her son Nico and never returned. Last month, Nico’s grandparents were convicted in federal court of aiding and abetting the kidnapping and now face a possible prison sentence.
“I wish I could tell them that and that I’m really sorry and that I love them,” said Marcelle Guimaraes. “Nico loves them a lot and he misses them. He asks about them every single day. He asks about them, and that, he cannot understand what’s going on.”
Guimaraes broke her silence in an hour-long interview with Wayne Dolcefino, the longtime investigative journalist and President of Houston based Dolcefino Consulting, an Investigative Communications Firm.
“They are being treated like people that have committed a crime, and they didn’t have the chance, not even to explain anything or to protect themselves and to defend themselves from this injustice,” said Guimaraes.
Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes had been arrested under a sealed indictment after making a trip to Miami last year. Dr. Chris Brann is an Associate Professor of medicine and Baylor and a doctor at Ben Taub Hospital. He has been a sympathetic figure in the media and with Texas politicians, but Guimaraes calls him a monster and says her escape to Brazil with her son was a matter of life and death.
“Nico would scream and ask and say no, no and ask for mommy too and ask to stop, and he would not stop at all because he could not control his violence,” said Guimaraes.
The Guimaraes case has intensified the growing spotlight on alleged conflicts of interest in Houston family courts. Marcelle Guimaraes filed for divorce in 2012, accusing Brann of beating her, even while she was pregnant.
Early in the divorce case, Judge James Lombardino signed an order ordering Brann to stay away from Marcelle and little Nico after legal papers detailed violence and alleged sex addiction, including a journal that should have raised alarm bells at Baylor and Ben Taub.
Just four days after the protective order was issued, Dr. Brann hired Houston divorce lawyer Bobby Newman. Newman, his family and his law firm helped fundraise and donate more than $16,500 for the Judge. The financial support included a campaign fundraiser on a family yacht.
“Once Bobby Newman was hired, everything changed,” said Guimaraes. “I had, there was nothing that I could do that could convince the judge to accept, even to look at everything that I had to give to him. Things would just become more and more difficult for me.”
Guimaraes’ lawyer in the divorce case was Rick Ramos. Marcelle is now outraged at pictures showing Ramos and Newman were good friends and traveling companions before she hired Ramos to fight for her and full custody of Nico.
Newman and Ramos agreed to a joint custody arrangement and emails show for months that Guimaraes repeatedly told her lawyer she was scared of the Houston doctor.
“It was really shocking because can you imagine that all these years I had no idea that I was being betrayed by my own lawyer,” said Guimaraes.
In hotly contested divorce cases, a lawyer is appointed to represent the best interests of the child. In the Guimaraes case that lawyer was Jared Woodfill, at the time Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.
Documents obtained by Dolcefino Consulting show Woodfill knew about violence and pornography and was begged for safety before Guimaraes finally fled. Emails obtained by Dolcefino Consulting written by the doctor claim Woodfill and Judge Lombardino both tried to get U.S. politicians in the fight against Guimaraes. Judge Lombardino even tried to keep Marcelle from testifying in her divorce case from Brazil.
“There was no protection anymore,” said Guimaraes. “There was no justice anymore. There was no even me anymore. It was like everything was already done with no explanation.”
Video taken in a park in Brazil in recent days show Nico appears healthy and happy with his mom. Brazilian Courts found Brann may pose a threat to his son. Dr. Brann is allowed to visit Nico but now says he owes $50,000 in back child support and can’t afford to pay.
Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes face sentencing in October. After the verdict, famed Houston Defense Attorney Rusty Hardin gave a statement to the media about his clients.
“These are two of the nicest, most incredibly supportive people that I can imagine, and I don’t know what a grandparent was supposed to do in this circumstance,” said Rusty Hardin, the attorney for Roberto and Jemima Guimaraes.
Hardin declined comment on their daughter’s decision to end her self-imposed silence and speak out.
Judge Lombardino, Bobby Newman, Rick Ramos, Jared Woodfill have all ignored requests for comment.
Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes are under house arrest and face possible prison sentences next month. They also declined to comment.
For further information on breaking news in this international drama, please call Wayne Dolcefino at his office at 713-360-6911.