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A mother who kidnapped her own daughter in North Carolina after a bitter custody battle and then spent two decades on the run before she was finally arrested is speaking out about her decision to flee.
In 1994 Dorothy Lee Barnett was fighting her husband Harris Todd in a divorce court for custody of their daughter- then named Savanna. When the judge ultimately sided with Todd, a desperate Barnett came up with a wild plan to leave her home in the United States, and everyone she knew behind, and take her daughter with her.
FBI - Law - Enforcement - Agency - Dorothy
'I feel the FBI and every other law enforcement agency underestimated me,' Dorothy Lee Barnett told 48 Hours.
While on the run, Barnett started a diary to Savanna who would be renamed Samantha explaining to her her beginnings.
Months - Mom - Birth - Page - Savanna
'A few months before my mom gave birth to me, she started writing a diary. ... And -- it starts off on the first page saying, ''To my dear Savanna. Someday I'll give this journal to you so that you can hopefully understand your mother.''
'My name is Samantha Geldenhuys. I was born Savanna. But I didn't know that. Savanna Lee Barnett.
'I - Sunshine - Coast - Australia - Place
'I grew up on the Sunshine Coast ... in Australia. ...it is the most magnificent place.
'I knew my mom as Alex my entire life... But in reality she wasn't Alex at all.
'She - Lee - Lee - Barnett
'She was Lee ... Lee Barnett.
'She's written, 'I've always loved the name Savanna, It reminds me of great beauty... it also reminds me of my home and someday it will hopefully be yours too. The endless reeds, the shrimp, the blue herons...''
Things - Barnett - Marriage - Todd - Daughter
Things in Barnett's marriage to Todd started falling apart when she first learned she was pregnant with her daughter, less than a year into their marriage.
'I need to tell the truth about what's happened ... something needs to...
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