CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCSC) - A former Isle of Palms resident who fled the country over twenty years ago with her 10-month-old daughter who she did not have custody of has been sentenced to 21 months behind bars.
Dorothy Lee Barnett, 54, appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in Charleston Tuesday morning for a plea and sentencing hearing. She faced a maximum of 33 years in prison on charges of parental kidnapping and falsifying U.S. passport applications.
Prosecutors say Barnett did not have custody when she took her daughter from South Carolina in May 1994.
Barnett was located in Australia in 2013 living under several aliases. Her daughter was also located in Australia, and is living "a normal life," according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.
"When we first saw this case, I was surprised to locate a missing child," says Assistant U.S. Attorney, Nathan Williams. " I think it's rare to locate missing children at all, let alone to find them alive and healthy. This sentence and this plea, it was a small step in a long road."
Barnett was arrested in Australia in November 2013 and spent nearly a year behind bars there, before being extradited back to Charleston last September.
As part of Tuesday's ruling, Barnett is being credited with time served. Her attorney, Russell Mace, expects that she will be released in 11 to 12 weeks.
Her daughter has remained supportive of Barnett.