Woman Accused of Kidnapping Her Baby 20 Years Ago Finally Charged

In 1994, Dorothy Lee Barnett allegedly kidnapped her then-baby daughter from her ex-husband, who had legal custody of her. Her child was less than a year old and the incident took place in South Carolina while she was enjoying a court-approved visit with her. She reportedly told everyone she was taking the girl to a birthday party, but never came back.

And, as it turns out, not only did she disappear from ex Benjamin Harris Todd's hometown -- she basically fell off the map. For 15 years, Barnett was reportedly successful in dodging authorities and raising her daughter by herself. She allegedly remarried, changed her name, and shuffled around from South Africa to New Zealand to Australia.

But few people can get away with their illegal actions for long. In 2012, police in Australia nabbed the 54-year-old woman on charges of international kidnapping and passport fraud. And now she'll be forced to pay the piper here, as well.


Last month, an Australian judge ruled that Barnett should be extradited to the United States, where she faces hefty criminal charges.

Now, of course, this case is going to get very hairy because Barnett's daughter is an adult. And she's apparently totally supportive of the woman who raised her and has been at every single one of her court appearances. I can't imagine how she must feel. On the one hand, she realizes her mother committed a very serious crime. She ripped the girl away from her father and never gave him a chance to get to know his daughter. Todd's pain must be extraordinary as he tries to now form some kind of relationship and bond with the girl.

On the other hand, Barnett is her mother. It will probably be difficult for this young woman to blame her for wanting and loving her so much that she was willing to take an insane risk and break the law so that she could be a constant presence in her life.

This mom deserves to be punished for her actions and for causing her ex-husband an obscene amount of grief over the past 20 years. Whatever her intentions were -- however much she couldn't stand the thought of not raising her daughter -- she didn't follow the court's order. Case closed.

Do you think Barnett deserves to be punished for her actions or have too many years gone by for this to be relevant?


Image via Charleston County Sheriff's Office

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