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Bond denied for mom charged with fleeing overseas

November 24, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday denied bond for a woman arrested in Australia on charges of abducting her infant daughter from South Carolina 20 years ago.

U.S. Magistrate Bristow Marchant made that decision in the case of Dorothy Lee Barnett, 54, who faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of parental kidnapping and two counts of falsifying U.S. passport applications.

Authorities have said Barnett did not have custody of her daughter, Savanna Catherine Todd, when she took her from South Carolina in 1994 when the child was almost a year old.

They say she was found in Australia last year living under several aliases and was returned to the U.S. in September. Prosecutors say that Barnett used a false name to get a driver’s license in Texas and used that license to obtain a passport. About a week after she got the license, she failed to return the child from a supervised visit in South Carolina.

Barnett’s attorney has said that his client is neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk. Russell Mace III has also said Barnett has been offered a job, needs medical attention she cannot get in jail and that family members are willing to put up property worth $1.4 million to secure bond.

But in his order, Marchant said that Barnett’s ties to people overseas, plus her previous willingness to flee the country to evade authorities, convinced him that she should not be released on bond.

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