Woman found living 'normal life' in Australia 19 years after abd - WNCN: News, Weather

Woman found living 'normal life' in Australia 19 years after abduction as an infant in SC

Posted: Updated:
Photo courtesy Center for Missing and Exploited Children Photo courtesy Center for Missing and Exploited Children

An 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.

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
  • Piedmont Farm Tour

    Piedmont Farm Tour

    Piedmont Farm Tour

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:25:38 GMT
    The 2014 Piedmont Farm Tour is happening April 26-27 from 2-6pm both days! Come learn about the Triangle’s local and organic farm food scene. Meet local farmers tour their farms!View ourGoogle Interactive Mapfor alist ofthe exceptional farms on the tour this year – with driving directions!Download a PDF of theFarm Tour Brochure - Farm tour maps, directions and descriptions of all the fun things to do at each farm! How to Take the Piedmont Farm Tour Load up a car with your friends andfamily...
    The 2014 Piedmont Farm Tour is happening April 26-27 from 2-6pm both days! Come learn about the Triangle’s local and organic farm food scene. Meet local farmers tour their farms!View ourGoogle Interactive Mapfor alist ofthe exceptional farms on the tour this year – with driving directions!Download a PDF of theFarm Tour Brochure - Farm tour maps, directions and descriptions of all the fun things to do at each farm! How to Take the Piedmont Farm Tour Load up a car with your friends andfamily...
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.