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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dual Citizen Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Kidnapping His Child And Taking Her To Turkey

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard today sentenced Salih Zeki Uces (39) to 21 months in federal prison for international parental kidnapping. A federal jury found him guilty on March 2, 2017.

 

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

 

Two days before taking the child, Uces went to his estranged wife’s apartment, rifled through her personal items, and stole the child’s 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 Uces’s 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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor and Kelly Karase.

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Updated June 13, 2017