Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

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Normal Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:24 pm

APBy AMY FORLITI - Associated Press | AP – 18 hrs ago

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This undated photo provided Aug. 30, 2011, by the Dakota County Sheriff's Department in Hastings, Minn., shows Steven Cross, 60, of Lakeville, Minn. Cross, who is accused of abandoning his 11-year-old son because his Minnesota home was in foreclosure, was arrested Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in Cambria, Calif., a small coastal town in central California. (AP Photo/Dakota County Sheriff's Department)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota father accused of abandoning his 11-year-old son after their home went into foreclosure seemed depressed and desperate for work when he applied for a job, so the owners of a coastal California deli hired him to make sandwiches.

Steven Alexander Cross said he'd lost his job and home in Minnesota and was staying with relatives, but he never mentioned the son he left behind, said Doug Lindsay, a co-owner of the Cambria deli, Soto's Market.

"He just seemed like someone who had lost everything in this economy and was down on his luck," Lindsay said by phone Tuesday.

Cross, a 60-year-old architect from Lakeville, Minn., is charged with a gross misdemeanor count of neglect of a child for allegedly abandoning his son while the boy was sleeping, explaining his reasons for leaving in a letter to the boy and instructing him to take another letter to a neighbor's home.

According to police, that neighbor said the boy rode his bike three blocks to her house on July 18 and arrived in tears, handing her the letters. The letter to the boy said: "If this paper is wet it's because I am crying so bad. You know your dad loves you more than anything." It went on to say that there are no jobs for architects and that sheriff's officials were taking the house.

"There are many many great years ahead of you. Not so for me," Cross allegedly wrote, telling his son to take his PlayStation to the neighbor's house. In the other letter, Cross asked his neighbor and her husband to care for his son, police said.

The neighbor, who did not return a message left by The Associated Press, told police that Cross never asked her to take care of the boy. The boy said he didn't notice anything was wrong with his father the night before Cross left.

Clues on Cross's computer indicated he might have been in California, said Lakeville police Capt. John Arvidson. An ex-girlfriend of Cross also received an email from him, sent from a library in Carmel, Calif.

In the email, which was forwarded to police, Cross said he was "scared and hopelessly depressed" and that he probably only had "a couple of days."

Arvidson said authorities then learned Cross might have gotten a job at a deli in Cambria. So a detective began calling every deli in Cambria, until he reached Soto's Market.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's officials arrested Cross on Monday, and he remained in custody Tuesday, said sheriff's spokesman Rob Bryn.

Cross was scheduled to appear in a California courtroom Wednesday, and he could be back in Minnesota to face the child neglect charge in a matter of days if he doesn't fight extradition, said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

Backstrom said the boy was in the custody of child protection services, and was being placed with a relative.

According to court records, Cross was awarded sole physical and legal custody of his son in 2001 when the boy was a year old. The child's mother was given visitation privileges, which were suspended in 2002.

Messages left for the mother on Tuesday were not immediately returned.

Arvidson described the boy as pleasant and well-rounded and said he has a lot of support and friends.

"As we close the books on the criminal investigation, I really think that the young boy and the father are going to have some hurdles to address and overcome," Arvidson said. "It's going to take some time to come to closure on their end."

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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:26 pm

It is MUCH more expensive to live in Cambria or anywhere in that beautiful area of California. He had the GAS to drive there. Could he have not taken his son with him???? This INFURIATES me!!

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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:31 pm

Runaway Lakeville dad was 'down on his luck,' his deli boss says

Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
Updated: August 31, 2011 - 9:18 AM

Lakeville father could be returned to Minnesota in about a week.

Steven Cross seemed depressed when he applied for a job at Soto's Market in Cambria, Calif. He wept and talked about losing everything back in Minnesota.

"He came across as a gentleman who was down on his luck," co-owner Doug Lindsay said. "He had lost his home. He had lost his job, and he was desperate."

But he never revealed that he had an 11-year-old son -- or that he'd left the boy behind, Lindsay said.

Cross, 60, of Lakeville, was arrested on Monday for allegedly abandoning his son, Sebastian, who woke on July 18 to find his father gone. Cross left behind letters, one of which asked a neighbor family to care for the boy. Another suggested to the boy that Cross was going to kill himself.

"The circumstances are extra unusual and they are disturbing," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.

"It appears from the notes left behind by Mr. Cross that he was under a great deal of stress and had emotional problems. We're glad that he has been found alive and well, and we're moving to have him brought to our state as soon as possible."

Cross is to appear Wednesday in a California court. If he waives extradition, he could be returned to Dakota County in a week or so.

He's charged with gross-misdemeanor child neglect and could lose custody in a separate child-protection case.

Cross is also under investigation in an unrelated fraud case but didn't yet know that when he left town, authorities said Tuesday.

Police nabbed him after tracing cellphone records and a following a citizen's tip that he might be working in a deli in Cambria.

Backstrom, Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows and Lakeville police investigators said they've never heard of a father who left behind a child because he was about to lose their home.

"I don't know if he really realizes the impact of his decisions in the last month or so," Lakeville Police Capt. John Arvidson said, noting they affected not only the boy and neighborhood, but also had caught the attention of the city and the nation as the story spread.

"It really has stretched far beyond the city of Lakeville," he said.

Monday, Lakeville investigator Jeremy Lerfald had begun calling every Cambria deli until he found the one where Cross had been hired, Arvidson said.

San Luis Obispo deputies arrested Cross that afternoon outside the store when he showed up for his shift.

Cashier Robert Miller said he and coworkers noticed during Cross' first week at the market that he'd told many outlandish tales. He claimed, for example, that he was the first person to ever book Led Zeppelin for a concert.

And, he told coworkers, but not the owners, that he was a master chef. It soon was clear, however, that Cross could barely make soup, said Miller, 45.

"We were getting angry with him because he had all these stories," Miller said, but added that they believed he'd had an economic collapse.

"It was just a messed-up situation, but no reason to abandon your kid," the coworker said.

Still seeking a home

The boy is staying with an aunt in the metro area while social workers look for a permanent home, court records show.

Sebastian told a social worker in July that he hadn't seen his mother since he was 2. Police were unable to find her, and she did not attend a child-protection hearing in Hastings on July 27, despite notices published in newspapers.

Sebastian knew little about his family, and he'd been told for years that his mother died of cancer, child-protection documents say. In one of the letters, Steven Cross revealed that she was alive.

The mother, Katik Porter, also known as Katik Splitstoesser, has had run-ins with the law and has had chemical-dependency problems.

She had three older children removed from her care under a voluntary termination of rights 10 years ago in Ramsey County, child protection documents say.

Backstrom said it's important to bring Cross back to face consequences, even though he's charged with a gross misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to a year in jail, rather than a felony.

Records show Cross has been divorced at least twice and had drunken-driving convictions. A notation in one case from Lakeville said he was "belligerent and verbally abusive."

An architect, he's been sued repeatedly, including for construction work, records show.

The letter he left Sebastian on July 18 said the economy had gotten so bad that there were no jobs for architects and that he had to go because the sheriff's sale of their foreclosed home would be on July 27.

He told coworkers that he wanted to start a new life.

"It's a horrible situation, all in all, for Steve as well as his son and his family," said Lindsay, the deli owner. "It's just a sign of the times."

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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:37 pm

By Maricella Miranda
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Updated: 08/30/2011 11:36:45 PM CDT

California authorities on Monday arrested Steven Alexander Cross, 60, of Lakeville DOB 7-13-1951, charged with a gross misdemeanor of child neglect after police say he abandoned his son, leaving a note behind saying their house was in foreclosure.

Steven Alexander Cross left his financial troubles and his son to hide out in a California artist colony, working at a deli a mile from the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean, authorities say.

Meanwhile, while looking into his disappearance, Lakeville police said they discovered evidence prompting a fraud investigation into Cross, who was arrested Monday afternoon in Cambria, Calif.

His 11-year-old son woke up alone July 18 in his Lakeville home. Cross, whose house was sold at a sheriff's auction in January, left the boy a note telling him to go live with a neighbor.

Police declined to give more information about the fraud probe, citing an ongoing investigation. However, Lakeville police Capt. John Arvidson said charges could come from the Dakota County attorney's office as early as next week.

Arvidson said police, concerned about Cross' well-being, searched his home computer and Rolodex for information about his whereabouts.

That search led to the fraud investigation, which is unrelated to a gross misdemeanor child neglect charge filed against Cross earlier this month.

"We could not initially determine if the note (left by Cross) was a 'goodbye' letter or a suicide note," Arvidson said. "We moved forward with the investigation looking at both angles."

Cross, who is being held at the San Luis Obispo County Jail, will appear by Thursday in a California courtroom, where a decision will be made on his extradition to Minnesota, said Rob Bryn, San Luis

Obispo County sheriff's spokesman.

The process could take from a few days to up to three months depending on whether Cross fights his extradition, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.

Backstrom said his office usually doesn't extradite defendants charged with gross misdemeanors, but prosecutors intend to do so in this case "because of the nature of the offense" of alleged child neglect.

When Cross left Minnesota, police used his computer to trace a possible reservation dated Aug. 1 for a stay in Morro Bay, Calif., a Dakota County criminal complaint said. An email from Cross to an ex-girlfriend later led police to Carmel, Calif.

Investigators then learned Cross was headed south to Cambria, a town of about 6,000 people popular with painters, sculptors and other artists, Bryn said.

Cross was working at Soto's Market, a deli in Cambria. Police say he got the job shortly after leaving Minnesota. An employee confirmed Tuesday that Cross worked at the deli. A message left for the owner was not returned.

Investigators suspect Cross was living in his van.

On Monday, a patrol deputy found Cross' Ford Windstar van in the area and arrested him without incident, Bryn said. California authorities considered Cross a suicide risk because of the notes he left his son and the email he later wrote from California to his ex-girlfriend.

In the email, Cross said: "... I probably only have a couple of days....No one I called would help me....I didn't know what to do. I am scared and hopelessly depressed."

Mental health officials interviewed Cross at the jail, Bryn said, adding that he could not comment on Cross' mental health evaluation because of state privacy laws.

Cross, an architect, currently lists himself on a social-media site as employed at Steve A. Cross Architects. He used to work at Vanney Associates, an architecture firm in St. Paul, the company confirmed.

He also worked at 3M as an architect, said Mark Fahley, who worked in the same office as Cross at the time. Fahley said Cross "always lived way beyond his means."

"I really didn't consider him a nice guy," said Fahley, a former structural draftsman.

Court records show Cross, 60, was sued five times by financial companies for delinquent bills since 2007. The judgments against him totaled nearly $35,000.

The house Cross lost in foreclosure was sold at a sheriff's auction for $336,925 in January, property records show.

A decade ago, Cross fought hard for sole custody of his son.

In the first year of the child's life, police were called to Cross' home 10 times for custody disputes between Cross and the boy's mother, 38-year-old Katik Kristina Porter, according to police reports.

The court suspended Porter's visitation rights in 2002, according to the complaint against Cross.

Cross told his son his mother had died. In his goodbye note, though, Cross wrote: "Some good news is your mother is still alive. Though I do not think it is for the best," the complaint said.


Backstrom said the Dakota County attorney's office has not had contact with Porter since Cross disappeared.

After Cross left Minnesota, friends said, his son stayed with the neighbor for about a month. The boy has been placed in the custody of Dakota County Child Protection, Backstrom said. He is living with a foster family but soon will be placed permanently with a relative.

If convicted of child neglect, Cross could face up to a year in jail.

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:03 am

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Minnesota Man Abandons Son, Reveals Boy's Mom Still Alive
PHOTO: Steven Cross, Minnesota father of an 11-year-old boy who was arrested in California after abandoning his son July 18.
Dad Under Financial Strain Abandons Son

By JESSICA HOPPER (@jesshop23)
Sept. 2, 2011

When Steven Cross' 11-year-old son woke up one morning last month, he found a tear drenched note from his father that contained a couple of bombshells.

The note told the Lakeville, Minn., boy that his father was abandoning him. The boy also read that his mother, who he had long been told had died, was really still alive.

"If this paper is wet, it's because I'm crying so bad. You know your dad loves you more than anything...There are no jobs for architects so I have to go because the sheriff will take the house July 27th," one note read.

Cross' three bedroom home was in foreclosure and feeling overwhelmed by his financial burdens, he left his son, investigators said.

"There are many great years ahead for you. Not so for me," Cross wrote to the boy, whose name ABC News has chosen not to reveal because he is a minor.

Cross was missing for more than a month before police tracked him down and arrested him in Cambria, Calif., on Monday. He was on his way to a deli where he'd found work.

Cross, a 60-year-old architect, has had full custody of his son since the boy was 1 year old, according to court documents.

"Some good news is your mother is still alive. Though I do not think it is for the best," Cross wrote in one of the letters.

The boy's 38-year-old mother, Katik Kristina Porter, did not come forward last month when children's services was searching for her. However, this week she contacted Dakota County attorney James Backstrom.

"The boy's mother has been in contact with Dakota County child protection in connection with this case... Her parental rights to this boy were never terminated in a court," said attorney Backstrom.

Attempts to reach Porter were unsuccessful. Her visitation rights were suspended in 2002, according to court documents. ABC Affiliate KSTP reported that the boy told a neighbor that he hadn't seen his mom since he was 2 and believed she was dead.

The boy followed his father's instructions in the notes to take his Playstation and ride his bike to a neighbor's house to live.

KSTP reported that the boy broke down in tears when he arrived at the home of the neighbor on July 18. The neighbor has not been identified.

The boy is currently staying with a relative while child protective services determine who will get custody of the boy.

Cross appeared in a San Luis Obispo County court Wednesday and waived his extradition to Minnesota. He is expected to return to Lakeville, Minn., within two weeks. He faces a gross misdemeanor charge of child neglect.

"He said he was in financial difficulty. His house was being foreclosed upon. He didn't know what to do. He was under a lot of stress obviously and he chose to flee, and as far as we're concerned, that's not an appropriate course when you have an 11-year-old son in your custody," said Backstrom.

A neighbor of Cross who asked not to be identified because Cross is "kind of a scary" said that the boy's mother did attempt to visit her son when he was an infant.

The female neighbor described Cross as volatile and said that other neighbors had problems with him.

"He would go into rages about politics," she said. "He's kind of scary, he's weird."

She said that Cross told her he was estranged from his family. She described the 11-year-old boy as "very sweet."

"He was an only child so he wasn't outside a lot or anything," she said.

The boy appeared to know how to calm down Cross' agitated behavior, she said. Cross had gained a reputation for being very loud and aggressive during his son's baseball games.

"During the baseball games, he [the boy] had to go and try and calm his dad down during games," the neighbor said.

Cross has a previous arrest record that includes charges of driving under the influence. He has also been sued for his work as an architect.

Cross' legal and financial woes could worsen. He is also being investigated in a fraud case, Backstrom said.

"He is under investigation on a completely unrelated financial matter that the Lakeville police discovered in the course of investigating his whereabouts," the lawyer said.

If convicted of gross misdemeanor child neglect, Cross could face a maximum penalty of one year in county jail and a $3,000 fine.

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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by spayneuteryourpets on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:03 pm


Lakeville Father Found Guilty of Child Neglect

A Dakota County judge delayed the sentencing of Steven Cross on Wednesday to allow time for a pre-sentence investigation and the completion of a victim impact statement from his son.


By Jeff Roberts
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January 25, 2012
A Dakota County jury found 60-year-old Steven Alexander Cross guilty of child neglect today in connection with an incident in which he abandoned his 11-year-old son and left him with Lakeville neighbors, John and Joanne Pahl.

Dakota County District Court Judge Robert R. King, Jr., delayed sentencing of Cross on Wednesday to allow time for a pre-sentence investigation and the completion of a victim impact statement from the boy Cross abandoned.

King instead scheduled Cross's sentencing for 10 a.m. on March 20.

After the jury left the courtroom, defense attorney John Price III renewed his motion from Tuesday calling for an acquittal of Cross based on a lack of evidence to prove the child was harmed.

"I respectfully request the court to take the verdict from the jury to take the emotion out of it," Price argued, to no avail.

While appreciating Price's position, King argued the jury could indeed apply circumstantial evidence to whether the boy was harmed.

"The evidence seems to indicate a lot of love between Mr. Cross and his son. Unfortunately, the greater the love, the greater the emotional harm," the judge said.

Price—who tried the case pro bono after Cross was accused—said he was "disheartened" by the jury's verdict.

"Had Mr. Cross walked his child down to the Pahl's house and handed him over to the family, there would have been no crime. So I'm confused why or how the jury could have seen (the case) any other way," Price told reporters after leaving the courtroom.

Price continued: "The world was crashing down on (Cross); he had nowhere to go. So he brought the boy to a family member—Mrs. Pahl testified she was family to the boy."

Price also blamed the verdict on the jury's inability to separate emotion from the legal arguments.

"This has always been about emotion. If (the jury) had followed the law, they wouldn't have convicted him. The evidence just wasn't there," Price said.

A tearful Steven Cross weighed in on the verdict.

"Of course I'm disappointed. I love my son. I did what I thought was best that day to make sure that he was safe," he said.

"I wouldn't wish this on anyone because he's such a good boy, I love him so much and we had such a great relationship. I did the best I could, in every way shape and form. I wasn't thinking about myself, I was only thinking about my son."

The gross misdemeanor charge carries with it a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but both Cross and his attorneys were confident he would be sentenced to only probation.

Cross is still embroiled in a CHINPS (Child In Need of Protective Services) case that will ultimately decide whether or not he will be reunited with his son.
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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by spayneuteryourpets on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:07 pm


Lakeville Dad Steven Cross Tearfully Says He Misses Son

The trial for Steven Alexander Cross, 60, was initially scheduled to begin today but was postponed until Tuesday after prosecutors entered a new piece of evidence.


By Jeff Roberts
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January 23, 2012
Steven Alexander Cross was sullen, and at times tearful, on Monday while talking to reporters about how much he misses his son and the circumstances that led to him being charged with gross misdemeanor child neglect last August.

Cross's trial was initially scheduled to begin today but was postponed until Tuesday morning after prosecutors entered a new piece of evidence today. The attorneys did not disclose the nature of the new evidence.

"The most awful part about all of this is not being able to see or talk to (my son)," Cross said, choking back tears. "I've been back four months now and I can't even talk to him on the phone. Not even a phone call."

As first reported by Lakeville Patch, 60-year-old Cross is accused of abandoning his son and telling the 11-year-old boy to go to neighbors—John and Joanne Pahl of Lakeville—after foreclosure took his home and cleared out his savings.

"The Pahl's are like (my son's) family. He was over there all the time for Christmases and holidays. He learned how to waterski with them and went to swimming lessons. He even had chores to do at their house," Cross said, trying to explain the closeness of the two families.

Cross's son reportedly returned home on July 18 to find his father gone and only a pair of notes to explain his actions.

"I wasn't going to bring him with me (to California) to be homeless. It would have been too dangerous," Cross said.

A qualified architect, Cross was arrested in Cambria, CA, last August living in his van and working a minimum wage job.

Cross also addressed the issue of his son's biological mother—Katik Porter—and why he conviced the boy she was dead for the first 11 years of his life.

"I know so many people who say terrible things about their husbands or wives. I made a parental decision to say only the nice things about her. There is plenty of (negative) stuff I could have told him about his mom," Cross said.

Cross won full custody of the boy in 2002, when he was one-and-a-half years old.

After telling the boy his mother was alive in one of the notes left for him last July, Cross defended his actions by saying he planned to tell the boy himself once he turned a "more mature age."

"I told friends, teachers, the principal of his school and a school nurse his mother was alive. I wasn't a big secret," Cross said.

Attorneys are scheduled to begin choosing a jury tomorrow morning and commence with witness testimony in the afternoon.
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Normal Re: Minn. dad, Steven Cross, 60, who abandoned 11 yr old son arrested in CA, charged with neglect of a child/convicted/sentenced to 2 yrs probation/Son now living with his Mother who he had been told was dead by Father.

Post by spayneuteryourpets on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:10 pm

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He was convicted, given 2 years of probation!
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Normal Custody case ends involving Lakeville dad who abandoned son

Post by raine1953 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:18 pm

Steven Cross, who was sentenced to probation in May 2012 for abandoning his son in July 2011, has a chance at reconciling with his son after a Dakota County Juvenile Court decision this week to end its child protection proceedings.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the move, which was based on the recommendations of the Dakota County Social Worker and the court-appointed guardian.

This brings the child protection matter to a close, according to a statement from Backstrom’s office. Cross was convicted of neglect of a child (a gross misdemeanor) and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution earlier this year.

Cross’s son is living full-time with his mother and continues to work on his relationship with Cross, the statement said.

Monica Jensen, a spokesperson for the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, said that under the family court order, the parents share joint legal and physical custody.

“Eventually, the plan is that the boy will be co-parented,” she said. “A family therapist remains involved in this process.”
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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:58 pm

spayneuteryourpets, thanks so much for those two posts. Would you by chance have links to them? Thanks!

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