News (USA)

FBI makes arrest in lesbian pair’s kidnapping, child custody battle

FBI makes arrest in lesbian pair’s kidnapping, child custody battle

A man accused of helping a former lesbian sneak a child out of the country, violating a court order that the mother turn the child over to her former same-sex partner, was arrested April 18 and will be arraigned in federal court in Vermont on Monday, April 25.

Lisa Miller (left) and Janet Jenkins

According to court documents, the FBI arrested Timothy David Miller in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges that he aided in the international parental kidnapping of Isabella Miller-Jenkins by one of her two mothers, Lisa Miller.

The FBI statement says Lisa Miller took her child to Mexico in September 2009 “with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights by Janet Jenkins,” her former civil union partner. The statement says Timothy Miller provided assistance with Lisa Miller’s travel from the U.S. to Toronto and then to Mexico City, and provided shelter for her. The Millers then continued on to Managua, Nicaragua, later that month.

A warrant for Lisa Miller’s arrest was issued in April 2010.

Sarah Star, a Vermont attorney representing Jenkins, said Friday that, despite Timothy Miller’s arrest, “We still don’t know where they are now.”

Jenkins issued a statement saying she hopes “Isabella is safe and well” and that she is looking forward to “having my daughter home safe with me very soon.”

But Star said she was not sure what measures might be available to law enforcement officials to attempt to locate and extradite Lisa Miller back to the United States.

The FBI indicated it has not established whether Lisa Miller is related to Timothy Miller. Timothy Miller reportedly lived in Crossville, Tennessee, and has a wife and four children. But evidence suggests he and the family were living in Nicaragua in November 2008. The Rutland Herald, a Vermont daily newspaper, said Timothy Miller worked as missionary in Nicaragua.

According to one FBI affidavit, the “Lynchburg Christian Academy Payroll Account” provided “multiple payroll checks to Lisa Miller. The Academy is an affiliate of the late Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church.

The FBI documents indicate agents believe Lisa Miller was going by the name Sarah, and that her daughter was being referred to as Lydia.

A Vermont judge transferred full custody of the daughter to Jenkins in November 2009, after Lisa Miller failed to comply with a court order that she allow Jenkins visitation with the child.

The Miller-Jenkins case took on national prominence after Lisa Miller moved from Vermont to Virginia in an effort to use Virginia’s newly enacted law banning recognition of same-sex relationships as leverage in her battle to prevent Jenkins from having visitation. But Virginia courts, including the state supreme court, ruled that the federal kidnapping law trumps Virginia’s “Marriage Affirmation Act” and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In 2003, Lisa Miller renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian. Isabella Miller turned 9 this month.

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