In January of last year, Lisa Miller fled the country, likely to Central America, with her daughter Isabella after refusing to obey a court-ordered custody arrangement that gave custody to her former partner Janet Jenkins. A Mennonite pastor was recently arrested in connection with the kidnapping, and the Associated Press reports that Miller “appears to have had the support in the Mennonite community outside [Nicaragua’s] capital of Managua.” Andrew Harmon of The Advocate reports that the charges against the pastor, Timothy Miller (no relation), have now been dropped as he has agreed to cooperate with the kidnapping investigation:
In a stunning development, government attorneys have dropped charges against a Mennonite missionary accused of aiding in the kidnapping of a young girl at the center of a high-profile child custody case.
Though the reason for the decision is not yet clear, documents filed in federal court late Friday indicated that Timothy “Timo” Miller, who was arrested in April and later charged with aiding and abetting in the international kidnapping of Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
In the Friday order, U.S. Attorney Tristram J. Coffin dismissed the grand jury indictment against Timo Miller in the kidnapping.
“In light of Timothy Miller’s role in the international parental [kidnapping], and his agreement to cooperate with the investigation of the United States government, including an agreement to return to the United States and to provide truthful testimony as requested in any proceedings in this matter, further prosecution is not in the interests of the United States at this time,” the order, signed by Coffin and U.S. district judge Christina M. Reiss, read.
Lisa Miller entered into a Vermont civil union with Jenkins in 2000, one that ended in 2003. Following the break-up, she moved to Virginia with Isabella, joined an evangelical church, and began reading books on ex-gay reparative therapy. Miller was later represented in custody proceedings by the social conservative legal group Liberty Counsel, but was ordered to transfer full custody of Isabella to Jenkins after she repeatedly refused to grant her former partner court-ordered visitations. Liberty Counsel attorneys Mathew D. Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have said that they have not had contact with Miller since her disappearance and did not advise her to break the law, the New York Times reported earlier this year.
According to the April FBI affidavit, Victoria Hyden, an administrative assistant at the Liberty University School of Law, had been asked by her father “to disseminate a request to get Lisa Miller supplies” in Nicaragua, where she and her daughter had allegedly been staying at a beach house owned by Hyden’s father. Liberty Counsel has offices on Liberty University’s Lynchburg, Va. campus.