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January 4, 2010

Mother Seeks Public Help to Locate Missing Child

Janet Jenkins today appealed to the public for help in locating her daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins. In an interstate custody dispute, the child’s other mother failed to transfer custody per court-order and has disappeared with the child.

In November, the Rutland Family Court in Vermont ordered that Lisa Miller transfer custody of the child to Janet Jenkins on January 1, 2010.  The transfer of custody did not occur, and Isabella’s and Lisa’s whereabouts are unknown.  Lisa’s attorneys say that they have not been in touch with her for some months, and Isabella’s guardian ad litem and attorney have been unable to contact her.

Isabella was born in 2002, after Janet and Lisa, then a couple, decided to have a child together.  Lisa was artificially inseminated to conceive the child.  The current custody and visitation case began in 2003, when Lisa filed papers in Vermont asking the court to dissolve her and Janet’s civil union and decide the custody of their child.  The court granted temporary custody to Lisa and visitation to Janet.  The court later determined that Janet is Isabella’s legal parent.

Lisa filed a new case in Virginia, seeking to have herself declared the sole parent of Isabella. After years of litigation, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that Vermont had jurisdiction over the case, and that Virginia courts must abide by the Vermont court’s decisions.

The recent order transferring custody to Janet came after the Vermont court had repeatedly held Lisa in contempt for refusing to comply with court-ordered visitation.  The court found that Isabella should have a relationship with both of her parents, and that Lisa was unwilling to allow Isabella to have a relationship with Janet.

Anyone with information regarding Isabella’s and Lisa’s whereabouts should call the Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-4800.

Read more, including Janet’s statement and detailed background on the case.