Child Missing From SC Since 1994 Found Safe, Mother Charged -

Child Missing From SC Since 1994 Found Safe, Mother Charged

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The U.S. Attorney says Dorthy Lee Barnett is facing extradition on charges of International Kidnapping for taking her 10 month-old child to Australia. 

United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced today that the court has unsealed an indictment charging Dorothy Lee Barnett, a/k/a Alexandria Maria Canton, a/k/a Alexandria Maria Geldenhuys, age 53, of Queensland, Australia, formerly of Isle of Palms, South Carolina, with one count of International Parental Kidnapping and two counts of False Statement in a Passport Application.

Barnett is charged with retaining her infant child outside the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of another person’s parental rights. Further, Barnett is charged with two counts of making false statements in a passport application in which she used a false identity.

U.S. Attorney Nettles stated that the indictment alleges that the minor child was removed from the country in 1994 when the child was less than 10 months old in violation of a state court order setting parental rights, and that the child was retained outside of the United States until on or about May 6, 2009, when the child turned 16 years of age.

U.S. Attorney Nettles stated that the child, now an adult, has been located and found to be safe, healthy and otherwise living a normal life. The adult child was contacted by Australian and U.S. authorities regarding the case near the time of Barnett’s arrest. Mr. Nettles recognized the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating: “The commitment demonstrated by the FBI agents in this case in locating Barnett and the missing child after so many years was tireless and is an inspiration.”

Barnett was arrested in Australia on November 4, 2013, and began a bond hearing on November 12, 2013, which continued November 20, 2013, at which time Barnett was denied a bond pending extradition to the United States. Barnett is currently facing extradition back to the United States, and no court date in the United States has been set. The International Parental Kidnapping count carries up to three years imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 1204 and each of the False Statement charges carry up to ten years imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 1542.

The Indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of State and the Australian Federal Police. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office is prosecuting the case. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance.

Mr. Nettles stated that the charges in this Indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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