My mom is trying to find the title of a book and hoping this description rings some bells... It begins in some country below our southern border with a young woman (mid-20's or so) who is in the water near shore, and she is using something with a long handle scraping the bottom (can't remember what she is looking for). She is not in very deep water, and when she notices some feet on the shore, she raises her head to see two men beating a woman and there was a young boy as well. She uses her long-handled tool and whatever else she can come up with to distract/disable the men and grabs the boy and runs off with him. The woman being beaten is the boy's mother and was so badly beaten she died. The story is about how the woman and the boy managed to elude capture from the men hunting them to be able to get up in the mountains of Idaho (I'm not positive it was Idaho, but pretty sure) where they contacted a friend of hers (a man whose face is horribly disfigured from a fire he was in years ago). The man sending the thugs after her and the boy is the boy's Iranian father, who lost custody of the boy and wants him returned to Iran. The boy's maternal grandfather lives in Seattle (?) or near there, and the woman has contacted him and is making arrangements for the boy to get to him when the thugs show up again. Near her friend, there is an old miner with a gold mine.