BLOOMINGTON — A Massachusetts man embroiled in a child custody battle over his son surrendered Tuesday to begin serving a six-month sentence in the McLean County jail for failure to attend court hearings in McLean County.
Michael Cadena was sentenced by now-retired Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill in September after he was a no-show at six court hearings related to custody of his 5-year-old son Michael Cadena Jr., known as "Mikey."
The case filed in 2014 by Cadena seeking to remove custody of his son from the boy’s mother, Amber Buck, lit up the internet last year after Cadena’s supporters began posting on social media allegations of child abuse involving the child and details of the court case.
Cadena moved out of state with the boy in March 2017 and claimed his refusal to return to Illinois with the boy as ordered by Hill was based on fears that the child could be harmed by his mother, an accusation Buck has denied.
Cadena served 14 days in a Massachusetts jail last year in connection with an arrest warrant issued by Hill for direct criminal contempt of court. He was released after Buck went to Massachusetts in October and brought her son back to Illinois.
Judge Charles Feeney denied a request from Cadena’s lawyer Adele Saaf on Tuesday to vacate the jail term. Cadena will receive day-for-day credit on his six months and credit for the time he served in the Massachusetts jail.
According to court records, Cadena returned to Illinois last week and was allowed two visits with his son. Prior to his return, Cadena had reconnected with his son through phone and video visits arranged through a court-appointed guardian for the child.