A federal jury today convicted a Canadian woman of international parental kidnapping, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis of the Central District of Illinois.
Sarah M. Nixon, 48, of Montreal, was found guilty of one count of international parental kidnapping for taking her minor-aged child from the United States in July 2015 with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the father’s rights. Sentencing has been scheduled for April 24, 2017 before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois.
Evidence at trial established that after a custody trial where it was apparent that Nixon would lose custody of her six-year-old daughter, Nixon fled the United States with the child in the middle of the night. When she did not appear for the custody ruling and neither she nor her daughter could be located, law enforcement issued a child abduction alert. Nixon and the child were eventually located in a farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. Authorities then returned the child to the father. Nixon was arrested in New York on Sept. 20, 2015 as she attempted to return to the United States.
The FBI; Urbana, Illinois, Police Department; University of Illinois Police Department; Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Ontario Provincial Police; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigated the case, with assistance from the Champaign County, Illinois, State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. Trial Attorneys Elly M. Peirson and Lauren S. Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section are prosecuting the case.