A Canadian woman was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison following her December conviction for international parental kidnapping, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen of the Central District of Illinois.
Sarah M. Nixon, 48, of Montreal, Canada, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois. On Dec. 21, 2016, a federal jury found Nixon guilty of one count of international parental kidnapping for taking her minor child from the United States to Canada in July 2015, with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the father’s rights.
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.
Trial Attorneys Elly M. Peirson and Lauren S. Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecuted the case. 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 Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.