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Press Release

Former Virginia Beach Woman Sentenced for International Parental Kidnapping

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A woman formerly from Virginia Beach was sentenced today to 2 years in prison for international parental kidnapping.

According to court documents, Kathleen Shehadeh, 32, had joint custody of A.G. with her ex-husband. A.G. spent time with both parents based on a court-ordered schedule. Unknown to the father, Shehadeh applied for and was granted a New Zealand passport for A.G. In July 2018, Shehadeh took then two-year-old A.G. and fled Virginia Beach. They first went to Mexico City, Mexico. Shehadeh then took the girl to Bogota, Columbia, and, finally, to Spain. Shehadeh wrote a letter to the father, in which Shehadeh falsely stated that she and A.G. were moving out west and would let him know the exact address once they were settled. The father did not hear from Shehadeh or know where his daughter was for over two years.

Finally, in August 2020, the father tracked Shehadeh and his daughter to Tenerife, Spain, and was able to reunite and come back to the United States with A.G. Shehadeh was arrested by the Spanish authorities on the federal warrant and eventually waived extradition to return to the United States and face the charge.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Yusi prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-15.

Updated January 7, 2022