A retired Air Force officer is facing federal charges after authorities accused him of kidnapping his daughter to an overseas location in an effort to avoid losing custody.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, former US CENTCOM officer Andrew Morcombe may be facing a federal indictment of international parental kidnapping, which is punishable by up to three years in the pen, following his attempt to flee the US for Dubai with his daughter.
Morcombe was married to his wife Jane, with whom he shared his daughter, Victoria, born in 2009. Two months after getting a divorce in 2011, Jane remarried.
Travelling the world during the two-month blocks he and his daughter were together, Morcombe took his Daughter across Europe and Oceania before a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia raised the ire of his ex-wife, as she felt the nation’s capital city was “too dangerous.”
While Morcombe said he has only acted in the best interests of his daughter, Jane Morcombe’s attorney -Lawrence Katz- says that the world travelling was the first step toward alienating the girl from her American family and friends.
“What he’s done to her is so unconscionable,” Katz said.
In 2014, a Florida judge banned Morcombe from taking his daughter outside of the US without government permission, claiming that he was an international kidnapping risk. Following the ruling, Morcombe agreed to spend a few months each year with his daughter in the US.
However, he would later turn a two-day weekend into two years abroad for his daughter after they fled overseas to the Middle East, though the court never seemed to know Morcombe’s exact whereabouts.
“They never knew exactly where he was when they were (abroad),” Katz said. “If they knew, he would’ve been picked up one way or the other much earlier.”
While Morcombe -who is a dual US and UK citizen- was relatively safe from extradition in the United Arab Emirates, he threw a wrench in his own plans when he came to the UK and was jailed for two weeks.
His daughter returned to her mother, Morcombe remains in the UK as of last week and says he’s willing to work with the US legal system.
“I’m not fighting extradition, like I’m not fighting anything,” Morcombe said. “There is a very clear defense to what I did.”
While Morcombe may face three years in prison, he thinks the prosecutors are merely “playing a game” and he hopes for liberal visitation rights, as well as social workers to check on his daughter when she is with her mother.
“I don’t think anybody could say, ‘Let’s send this guy into prison,’ ” he said. “It’s very clear that, yeah, I did break the law, but I did it in a justifiable manner.”
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