Girl in courtroom in worldwide same-sex custody case

BUFFALO, NY (AP) – A woman accused of fling the United States to Nicaragua with her daughter instead of sharing custody with her former same-sex partner confessed on Friday in Buffalo, New York, the city of from which mother and daughter originated, allegedly not guilty of leaving.

Lisa Miller, 52, was charged with conspiracy and international parent kidnapping in federal court in Buffalo.

Miller waived her right to a hearing and will remain in custody, although she has reserved the right to request a hearing in the future, said Barbara Burns, US attorney spokeswoman for New York’s western district.

A phone number for Miller’s attorney could not be found immediately.

Miller and Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven, Vermont, joined a civil union in Vermont in 2000, shortly after the state became the first to recognize same-sex relationships in the country.

The two women had a child through artificial insemination in 2002 and later separated. Miller, the birth mother, moved to Virginia and was taken into custody. The Vermont family court granted Jenkins the right to see the child.

But Miller refused to obey court orders to visit.

Prosecutors say Lisa Miller and her daughter left their Winchester, Virginia home in 2009 after it became clear that Miller was about to lose custody of Isabella, who is now an adult, and traveled to Buffalo. From there they crossed Canada and later flew from Toronto to Nicaragua.

Miller returned to the US from Nicaragua last month and was arrested in Miami.

Isabella Miller turned 18 last year. She remains in Nicaragua but said in court documents filed in federal court in Vermont earlier this month that she would return to the United States “if (and when) I wish”.

Jenkins’ Vermont attorney Sarah Star declined to comment on Miller’s court appearance on Friday.

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