Lawrence woman in federal court over international child custody case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A Lawrence woman appeared in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., Wednesday on federal charges of fleeing to Europe in an effort to avoid losing custody of her two daughters, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said in a news release.

Grissom said thirty-three-year-old Samantha Elmer of Lawrence took her children out of the U.S. to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. Elmer was arrested Dec. 8 at the airport in Kansas City when she returned with her children.

According to Grissom, on October 29th, an officer of the Lawrence Police Department went to Elmer’s house in Lawrence to do a child welfare check. Investigators determined that Elmer’s daughters had missed the past six days of school. They learned that Elmer had been driving a rented vehicle and had dropped the vehicle off at O’Hare airport before boarding the flight to Austria.

If convicted, Elmer faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

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