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Deonna comes home: Girl abducted by non-custodial father in 2007 returned to Onondaga County

Deonna Shipman was abducted by her non-custodial father, Jeffery Shipman, in 2007, who then fled the country with her. Jeffery Shipman turned himself into authorities in Thailand last month. The little girl, now 8, was returned to Onondaga County.

Deonna Shipman was abducted by her non-custodial father, Jeffery Shipman, in 2007, who then fled the country with her. Jeffery Shipman turned himself into authorities in Thailand last month. The little girl, now 8, was returned to Onondaga County.

— For nearly five years, Luba Shipman waited for her little girl to come home.

Shipman remained in her Liverpool apartment, holding onto the hope that her daughter Deonna’s non-custodial father Jeffery Shipman, Luba’s ex-husband, would slip up, that the FBI, Interpol, a concerned citizen, someone would find him. The two had shared custody of the little girl since their divorce in 2004. While Luba had physical custody, Jeffrey was allowed visitation. Both parents filed petitions seeking to modify the order in July of 2007 in Onondaga County Family Court. Deonna went to her father’s for her scheduled court-ordered visitation on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. She was supposed to return by 5 p.m. Thursday July 12.

Instead, Jeffery took Deonna, then 3, and fled the country.

This past January, Luba started to take steps to rebuild her broken life. According to Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh, she left behind her Liverpool apartment and returned to Eastern Europe, where she’d lived before moving to the United States and marrying Jeffery. She started nursing school. She held onto the hope that her baby girl would come back to her, surely, but she had to stop waiting, living in stasis.

Mere weeks after she left, the moment Luba Shipman had so long awaited finally came.

On Feb. 24, Jeffrey Shipman, 51, turned himself into the American Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Jeffery was arrested in Bangkok by the FBI on a federal warrant for international parental kidnapping charges and arraigned in Los Angeles, Calif. Jeffery Shipman is currently in the custody of the United States marshals and will eventually be returned to Onondaga County for further court appearances.

Deonna Shipman has been returned to Onondaga County and is healthy. The FBI has tracked her mother down in Russia; she is currently returning from Russia to be reunited with her daughter.

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