Young sailor Dekker flies back to the Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - December 22, 2009

Dutch media reported that an afternoon hearing at Utrecht District Court would consider a request by the Bureau of Youth Care to remove the 14-year-old girl her from her father's custody.

Bureau spokesman Joost Lanshage declined to comment on the report, saying only that his bureau had spoken to Dekker. "We first want to see how Laura is," he said, without giving any details of what was discussed.

Utrecht District Court spokeswoman Edmee Leeman said a Tuesday afternoon hearing was scheduled to discuss the girl's situation.

Dekker made headlines earlier in October when a court banned her from attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. The decision was reportedly devastating for her, and she had continued making preparations for the trip, hoping the court would reconsider in July.

The court had also ordered a temporary guardian be appointed to look after Dekker, though it allowed her to keep living with her father, also a keen sailor and seen as a driving force behind her circumnavigation plan. The court wanted to ensure her father did not allow her to set off without first consulting child care authorities, as he has said he believes she is capable of sailing alone around the world even though her longest solo voyage so far has been to Britain and back.

Dekker's mother, who is divorced from her father, had reported the girl missing on Friday.

Authorities tracked her down in the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten and said she had flown there on Thursday from Paris with some euro3,500 ($5,000) in cash.

Police are still trying to piece together how she managed the trip and if anyone helped her.

They interviewed her Tuesday after she arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on a flight from Curacao, another island in the Netherlands Antilles, police spokesman Bernhard Jens said, without revealing what was said.

"We asked her a lot of questions ... she spoke to us," he said. "I can't yet say anything about how she made the trip" to St. Maarten.

Shielding her from media, police then turned Dekker over to child care authorities.

Dekker's spokeswoman Mariska Woertman said she was concerned that police had interviewed Dekker without her lawyer present. "The fact her lawyer wasn't allowed to attend ... that worries me a lot, especially after the week Laura has just had," Woertman told The Associated Press. "She must be completely exhausted."

Dekker's grandparents on her father's side criticized welfare workers for their treatment of Dekker.

"Since the Bureau of Youth Care got involved, we have seen Laura change from a positive teenager into a child who has built a shield around herself and lost all trust in adults," Dick and Riek Dekker wrote in a letter published Tuesday in De Volkskrant newspaper.

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