RUSSIA + UKRAINE

Ukrainian refugee with ties to Utah, reunited with husband, daughter

Apr 4, 2022, 7:42 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 10:04 am
Bradley Harrison, left, his wife Ganna, and their daughter Sofia are photographed at Disneyland in ...
Bradley Harrison, left, his wife Ganna, and their daughter Sofia are photographed at Disneyland in July 2019. Photo credit: Bradley Harrison

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, announced on social media that Ganna Harrison, a Ukrainian with family ties to Utah, was reunited with her family Monday night after having gone missing for four days.

She is currently with her husband and daughter in California.

Her husband, Bradley Harrison, claimed the officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol who stopped her know what happened to her.

Ukrainian refugee has gone missing

“She’s probably in a jumpsuit and shackled,” Bradley said. “It’s been four days now. No phone call. No phone call from her or anyone at the border.”

Ganna and the couple’s 10-year-old daughter were in Ukraine at the time of Russia’s invasion. For the past year or so, Harrison had been living for 90 days in Ukraine and then 90 days in the U.S. Bradley had left Ukraine just days before war broke out.

“I left Ukraine about 10 days prior to the war starting,” he said. 

Bradley said his family felt if war broke out it would be isolated in the eastern part of the country. However, on Feb. 24, Russia began bombing various parts of the country.

Bradley says his wife and daughter were trapped in their apartment for three days.

“They were being bombed three days and three nights,” he said. “They couldn’t leave their apartment.”

Then on Feb. 27, when Ganna felt there was a pause in the bombing, Bradley says his wife made a go for it. She gathered up Sofia, her 70-year-old mother, his 25-year-old stepson and headed for the border. Ganna was also able to get her sister and brother-in-law to come along with them.

Over the course of the next six days, the group traveled the back roads of Ukraine in an effort to go undetected and escape to the country.

Bradley says his wife and daughter met up with some friends in Romania and were able to stay in Bucharest for nearly three weeks as refugees. 

From there, Ganna and Sofia were able to purchase plane tickets to Mexico City and then to Tijuana, which is on the border of California. Bradley had driven in from San Diego to meet his wife and daughter. 

Help of government leaders

In preparing to reenter the country, Bradley had brought letters of support from Utah Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney and Utah lawmaker Mike McKell. 

Once at the Port of Entry, Bradley says he told border patrol agents that his wife wanted to request humanitarian parole. At that moment, the guards escorted her into a room where her phone was taken away, while Bradley and Sofia waited.

About 10 minutes later, Bradley says his wife told them they were going to keep her for a day or two. And that was the last time Bradley has seen his wife.

“We are just at a loss about where she is,” he said. 

On Monday, the attorney representing Bradley heard back from the Office of the Assistant Chief Counsel for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They informed his attorney that they couldn’t find where Ganna was in their custody.

Bradley says his wife is likely in a bad situation.

“I’m sure she is not doing well,” he said. “No one ever expected this. If we’d expected that she’d be taken away, there would have been some kind of mental preparedness. I consider her abducted right now.”

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Ukrainian refugee with ties to Utah, reunited with husband, daughter