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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dual Citizen Convicted By Federal Jury Of International Parental Kidnapping

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury today found Salih Zeki Uces (39) guilty of international parental kidnapping. Uces, a dual Turkish/United States citizen, faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5, 2017.

 

Uces was indicted on December 1, 2016, after being arrested at the Miami International Airport on November 10, 2016.

 

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Uces asked his estranged wife for an overnight visit with their two-year-old child at a Jacksonville hotel on September 16, 2016, and promised to return the child on the following day or the day after. Instead, he took the child to the Jacksonville International Airport and boarded a series of three flights bound for Adana, Turkey.

 

Two days before taking the child, Uces had gone to his estranged wife’s apartment, rifled through her personal items, and stolen her passport. While in her apartment, he also viewed a draft divorce petition in his wife’s email.

 

Three days before leaving, Uces signed a power of attorney over to his brother, allowing his brother to sell his car while he was in Turkey. On the day of the kidnapping, Uces closed out his safety deposit box at a local bank branch.

 

Uces refused his estranged wife’s requests to return the child until after he learned that a state court had issued an authorization for his arrest. Ultimately, on November 10, 2016, he returned to the United States with the child and was arrested by FBI agents. The child was immediately returned to her mother.

 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor and Kelly Karase.

Updated March 2, 2017