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Author Topic: Woman found living 'normal life' in Australia 19 years after abduction  (Read 3590 times)

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Offline JuliRosi

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http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/22/21580216-woman-found-living-normal-life-in-australia-19-years-after-abduction-as-an-infant-in-sc?lite Woman found living 'normal life' in Australia 19 years after abduction as an infant in SCCenter for Missing and Exploited ChildrenSavanna Catherine Todd as she would have appeared at age 16 in a computer rendering. By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC NewsAn infant girl who was abducted in South Carolina 19 years ago has been found living a "normal life" in Australia, authorities said, and her mother faces federal kidnapping and other charges.
Savanna Catherine Todd, now 20, of Isle of Palms, S.C., disappeared in April 1994 as her parents were in the middle of a bitter divorce battle. Until earlier this month, she hadn't been seen since, William Nettles, the U.S. attorney for South Carolina, said in a statement.

The statement gave few details, saying only that Todd "has been located and found to be safe, healthy and otherwise living a normal life" and that her mother, Dorothy Lee Barnett, was arrested Nov. 4 in Australia.Advertise | AdChoices    Barnett — who is now 53 and had been living in Queensland under the aliases Alexandria Maria Canton and Alexandria Maria Geldenhuys — was denied bond Wednesday and was ordered extradited to the United States. No hearing date was entered.
A grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston charges Barnett with one count of international parental kidnapping and two counts of making false statements in passport applications when she sought to return to the U.S. in 2003 and 2004. She faces up to 23 years in prison if convicted.
 According to police and missing persons records from the original investigation, Savanna was 9 months old when she vanished on April 24, 1994. Her father, Harris Todd, a prominent developer in Kentucky and South Carolina, had custody, but Barnett was allowed supervised weekends of visitation.
During one of those visits, Barnett persuaded the visitation supervisor to let her take Savanna to a birthday party unescorted, according to case records. The two never returned.
In court documents filed in the divorce proceedings, Todd alleged that Barnett drank heavily while she was pregnant with Savanna and that she had a bipolar disorder for which she refused to seek treatment.
Over the years, Barnett had been reported spotted in Texas, Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, Belize and Mexico. Nettles' statement gave no details about how Barnett was eventually found, but it specifically thanked the Australian Federal Police for its assistance.

Offline JuliRosi

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Re: Woman found living 'normal life' in Australia 19 years after abduction
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 04:29:38 PM »
Video on link
Savanna Harris Todd, American Girl Kidnapped By Mom, Found In Australia After 19-Year Search                                                                       Savanna Harris Todd                                              Family Photo/Facebook                                                Savanna Harris Todd at 10 months (left) and at age 20 (right).                                                A South Carolina girl kidnapped by her mother when she was just 10 months old has been found alive in Australia, 19 years after she went missing.
Savanna Harris Todd, now 20 and living under the name Samantha Geldenhuys, appeared at her mother's side in court Wednesday, holding a sign that said, "We love you, Mom," according to the Australian.
Todd was living a “safe, healthy and otherwise living a normal life” in Queensland, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said in a statement announcing the development Thursday.
Todd's mother, Dorothy Lee Barnett, was charged with international parental kidnapping and two counts of false statements in a passport application after being captured on November 4 following a joint investigation by Australian federal police and the FBI.
A South Carolina court handed custody of Todd over to her father after determining that Barnett had bipolar disorder. But rather than give her child up, Barnett fled South Carolina in 1994 and spent the next two decades living under several aliases in South Africa, New Zealand, and finally, Australia.
Jim Arnold, who was chief of police in Isle of Palms, S.C., at the time of the abduction, told ABC 4 Charleston that he remembered searching the Barnett's home and finding it in disarray. He said there were crawlspaces in closets and maps with cities and escape routes highlighted.
"I recall just seeing the maps," Arnold told the station. "There were circles of places outside South Carolina and out of the country."
According to the Daily Mail, Barnett is "thought to have fled the United States using a fake passport with the help of a secretive organization called Children of the Underground, who help women stuck in abusive relationships."
Barnett will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.