When a child has been missing for 4 years, the news is normally not good, But that's not the case for Deonna Shipman. YNN's Bill Carey said the young girl is back home after a journey that took her thousands of miles away.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- It was 2007 and 4-year-old Deonna Shipman of Liverpool was missing.
There was little mystery about what had happened. Authorities said her father, Jeffrey, had abducted the girl in the midst of a custody dispute. They tracked his car to the Monroe County Airport in Rochester.
From there they determined father and daughter had flown to London. then, the trail went cold. The girl's mother, Luba, a Russian emigre, launched an effort to track her daughter down.
Luba Shipman said, “I really don't know if she is alive. I don’t know if I'm ever going to see here, you know? All I have is memories of her and pictures to look at.”
But, unexpectedly, there has been a break in the case. The Onondaga County Sheriffs' department saying Deonna will soon reunite with her mother.
Kevin Walsh, Onondaga County Sheriff said, “She has been found. She's happy and healthy. She's been returned to Onondaga County.
Luba Shipman is back home in Russia and making plans to return to Syracuse. The sheriff said the manhunt by the FBI had never eased up over the past four years.
Walsh said, “They got Interpol and all the international agencies involved in trying to track him down and it wasn't until just this past month that they found him in Thailand. But, they've had him on their most wanted list.”
It remains unclear just how the case ended. Relatives of Jeffrey Shipman said he wasn't arrested, but gave himself up.
Jeffrey Shipman is in FBI custody, being held in Los Angeles. It's expected he soon will be returned to Onondaga County to face further court action.
Jeffrey Shipman is now 51-years-old. He's facing a charge of International Parental Kidnapping. That charge carries a penalty of fines, and up to 3 years in prison.