‘Ex-lesbian’ who stole child away from former partner and fled the US arrested after 12 years on the run
An ‘ex-lesbian’ woman who kidnapped her seven-year-old daughter amid a custody dispute with her ex-partner has been arrested after 12 years on the run.
It has emerged that Lisa Miller turned herself in at the US embassy in Nicaragua in January, and faces charges of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy.
Miller, who renounced her identity as a lesbian when she became an evangelical Christian in 2004, took her daughter and vanished in 2009 after a long-running custody dispute with former civil partner Janet Jenkins.
Jenkins, who was later granted full legal custody of daughter Isabella Miller-Jenkins, made a series of emotional pleas for her return.
In 2014, Miller was indicted in her absence on charges of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy, while three men – Amish Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller, missionary Timothy Miller and businessman Phillip Zodhiates – were found guilty of aiding the kidnapping.
It is understood that Miller is now in custody within the US, at a federal detention facility in Miami.
However Isabella Miller-Jenkins, now 18, remains in Nicaragua and has not been reunited with Jenkins and her family.
A statement published on the Christian blog that broke news of the surrender, purportedly issued in Isabella’s name, says: “I, Isabella Ruth Miller, am grateful for the life that God has given me these past few years and rejoice in the blessings He has granted me.
“I am not willing to testify against Mama or anyone who has helped bless my life these past years. I am committed to continue to serve God in the days to come.”
Mother pleas for daughter to return home.
In a statement issued via lawyers, Jenkins said: “I just want Isabella to know that I love her very much and that I have never stopped loving her.
“Isabella has a family and support system here who will always welcome her home with open arms.”
Family attorney Sarah Star said: “Isabella’s mother, Janet Jenkins, was relieved to learn of her daughter’s whereabouts but concerned that she remains in Nicaragua and did not return to the US with Lisa Miller.
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“When Isabella was born, Lisa and Janet named her Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, after Janet’s mother, Ruth Jenkins.
“Grandparents Ruth and Claude Jenkins, as well as Isabella’s aunt and godmother, Linda Jenkins Garcia, are overjoyed by the thought that they will be able to see their beloved Isabella again.
“The Jenkins family wants Isabella to know that they have always kept prayer lists going for her, and she has never been out of their thoughts.
“The family longs for Isabella’s safe return and want her to know that they still celebrate her birthday and that her childhood bedroom is ready and waiting for her.”
Scott McCoy, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s interim deputy legal director, said: “After kidnapping Isabella more than a decade ago, Lisa Miller has finally been returned from Nicaragua back to the United States. We expect that she will be prosecuted for kidnapping to the fullest extent of the law.”