Lady in same-sex custody case who fled the US held in Miami Buffalo girl custody girl Nicaragua

A woman who allegedly fled the United States to Nicaragua in 2009 instead of sharing custody of her child with her former same-sex partner was arrested in Miami.

According to federal court records, Lisa Miller was taken into federal detention on January 27. She is awaiting transfer to Buffalo New York, where she was charged with international charges of parental abduction in 2014.

Miller’s attorney didn’t return an email on Monday asking for comment. But a federal court said Miller relied on her right to remain silent.

Sarah Star, the Vermont attorney for Lisa Miller’s former partner in the civil union Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven, Vermont, said Jenkins was concerned that the child Isabella, who is now an adult, has not returned to the United States from Nicaragua.

“I just want Isabella to know that I love her very much and that I have never stopped loving her,” Jenkins said in a press release from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which she represented in a civil lawsuit against the people she represented allegedly helped Miller and her daughter escape. “Isabella has a family and support system here that will always welcome her home with open arms.”

Miller and Jenkins joined a civil union in Vermont in 2000, shortly after the state first recognized same-sex relationships.

The two women had a child through artificial insemination and later separated. Miller, the birth mother, moved to Virginia and was taken into custody. The Vermont Family Court granted Jenkins a visit.

Miller, who wanted to keep Jenkins out of contact with the child, appealed the custody case for years, but ultimately the Virginia and Vermont courts determined the case would be bound by the Vermont Family Court order.

After Miller allegedly contradicted visiting instructions and realized she was about to lose custody, she disappeared in September 2009 with Isabella, who was 7 at the time.

On a trailer-arranged trip – many of them Mennonites – Miller and her daughter were taken to Buffalo, New York, where they crossed to Canada and then flew to Nicaragua, where they stayed.

In 2012, Kenneth Miller of Stuart’s Draft, Virginia, was convicted in federal court in Vermont for helping Lisa Miller escape. In 2013 he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. He has since been released.

The millers are not related.

In 2017, Philip Zodhiates, a Waynesboro, Virginia businessman, was convicted in a separate case in Buffalo, New York, for helping them escape. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He is due to be released in June, according to records from the Federal Bureau of Prison.

The daughter Isabella Miller is now an adult. She is represented by Vermont attorney Deborah Bucknam, who on Monday refused to comment on the case or say where she is now.

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