Man found guilty in international kidnapping case

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Virginia man has been found guilty in an international kidnapping case involving transportation through the city of Buffalo.

Philip Zodhiates, 61, worked with Lisa Miller to take her and her daughter from Virginia to Nicaragua. Their plan began to formulate in 2009.

According to prosecutors, the kidnapping was an attempt to hinder the parental rights held by Miller’s former civil union partner. Because the 7-year-old was born during the civil union, Miller’s former partner had parental rights to the child.

When the abduction finally took place, Zodhiates and Miller traveled to Buffalo, where Miller and her daughter crossed the Peace Bridge to Canada. From there, the two flew from Toronto to Nicaragua.

Once they arrived in Nicaragua, Miller and her child were sheltered by people Zodhiates recruited.

Zodhiates was found guilty of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy to commit international parental kidnapping. Miller faces the same charges, but remains a fugitive, as she and her daughter have not been seen since they arrived in Nicaragua.

Two other people from Virginia and Nicaragua have been charged in the case. One was convicted.

Zodhiates will be sentenced on January 30. He could spend up to eight years in jail and/or pay a $500,000 fine.

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