Savanna Harris Todd, who was kidnapped by her mother, Dorothy Lee Barnett, when she was only 10-months old, was found living under the name Samantha Geldenhuys in Queensland.
Following a joint investigation by the FBI and Australian Federal Police, Barnett, who authorities said is suffering from a metal disorder, was arrested on November 4 and charged with international parental kidnapping and two counts of false statements in a passport application.
Todd’s father, Benjamin, was awarded custody of her after doctors concluded that Barnett was suffering from bipolar disorder. Instead of handing over her daughter, using fake passports Barnett fled the US and moved to South Africa.
After splitting with Geldenhuys, who recently died of bone cancer, Barnett moved to Australia with her two children. A friend of Geldenhuys’ contacted Todd’s biology father via the internet and told him that his daughter was still alive.
Twenty-year-old Todd, who is studying to be a nurse, and her brother appeared in an Australian courtroom alongside their 53-year-old mother holding a sign that read: “We love you mom.”
Barnett will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.