Help bring Deonna home: Benefit this weekend for mom of missing 4-year-old

Luba Shipman is living every parent's worst nightmare.

The Liverpool resident hasn't seen her 4-year-old daughter Deonna since July 11. On that day, the girl's father, Jeffrey, took her for his court-ordered visitation. He was supposed to return her to her mother by 5 p.m. the next day.

Instead, he vanished.

Jeffrey Shipman's car was found in the parking lot of the Rochester airport on Wednesday July 19. Investigators have confirmed that he has taken Deonna and left the country.

"They've tracked him to London," Luba Shipman said. "According to their passport activity [Jeffrey Shipman had insisted on taking his daughter's passport, as Luba is originally from the Ukraine and he told the judge he feared she would leave the country with Deonna], their last exit was Heathrow Airport."

Shipman said the FBI told her Jeffrey Shipman had bought two sets of tickets -- one round-trip to Frankfurt, Germany and one to London. The tickets to Frankfurt were not used; investigators suspect Jeffrey Shipman bought them to throw them off his trail.

"But they have confirmed that he is definitely in England," Luba Shipman said.

Now, Shipman needs the community's help to hire a private investigator to bring her daughter home. Her co-workers are holding a benefit for her from noon until close this Saturday Oct. 6 at the Eastwood American Legion Post at 102 Nichols Ave., Syracuse, at the corner of James Street and Nichols Avenue. The event will feature live music, food, a silent auction and raffles. The cost for admission is $15 per person; children are free. Anyone who would like to contribute but cannot attend the fundraiser can make donations at any M&T Bank branch, where an account has been set up in Deonna's name.

The money raised will help Shipman to hire a private investigator in England who will work with the FBI to find Jeffrey and Deonna.

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