Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To International Parental Kidnapping
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Dennis Lee Henning (42, Jacksonville) today pleaded guilty to international parental kidnapping. He faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, as a result of divorce proceedings that concluded on May 25, 2017, Henning was ordered to share custody of a child with his ex-wife, the child’s mother, who was named as the majority timeshare parent. Before that divorce was final, however, Henning made Facebook posts that were critical of his ex-wife, the court system, and the United States – expressing his willingness to give up his citizenship and leave the country with his child. He also confided in a friend that, to avoid losing custody, he might run away with the child to Costa Rica or Canada.
On May 31, 2017, without telling the child’s mother, Henning drove to Mexico with his child. Unable to locate Henning or her son, Henning’s ex-wife repeatedly called and sent him text messages, which he ignored. After Mexican authorities arrested Henning on unrelated firearms charges, his ex-wife was able to travel to Mexico, recover her child, and return to Jacksonville.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.