Flight Diverted Because of Custody Dispute
Authorities Bring International Flight Back to Stop Child Kidnapping
Last September, U.S. government officials took the highly unusual step of requesting that the pilot of an international flight, headed for China, return to the United States. The reason—the FBI had strong evidence that one of the passengers, an American resident born in China, had kidnapped her four-year-old son and was attempting to take him to China permanently.
The flight, from Dulles International Airport, just outside of Washington, D.C., had reached Canadian airspace when FBI officials ordered it to return. Authorities say the plane arrived back at Dulles nearly five hours later. FBI officials arrested the woman immediately.
Sources say the defendant, Wenjing Liu, was married to an American citizen, but had been separated from him since last year, and that divorce proceedings were underway. The parties had been granted joint custody of their son (who has both Chinese and American citizenship), but the custody order specifically prohibits either party from taking the child outside of the United States without court approval or consent of the other parent.
Apparently, the mother sent the boy’s father an e-mail telling him that a relative in China was dying, and that she was going there immediately, taking her son with her. The father responded that he was not granting permission, and that he would take care of the child until the mother returned. It’s not clear if the mother called from the airport, but her flight left Dulles at noon of the day of the e-mail exchange. The father immediately went to the airport, and notified officials of the violation of the court order. Airport authorities were able to confirm that Liu was on a flight headed for Beijing. Airport officials contacted the FBI, which took steps to immediately confirm evidence and recall the plane.
Contact Freeman Hughes Freeman, LLC
At the law office of Freeman Hughes Freeman, LLC, we provide a free initial consultation to every prospective client. We keep traditional business hours, but will also meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary. Credit cards are welcome. Se Habla Espanol!