Lawyer: 'We were jubilant' after missing IOP child found - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Lawyer: 'We were jubilant' after missing IOP child found

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(Source: www.missingkids.com) (Source: www.missingkids.com)
ISLE OF PALMS, SC -

It was nearly 20 years ago when baby Savanna Todd was allegedly kidnapped from the Isle of Palms.

Earlier this month, Savanna was found living a normal life with her mother in Australia. Bill Sturgis has been the attorney and family friend for Savanna's father since she disappeared.

"We were jubilant," Sturgis said after his friend and client found out the child was found safe.

Back on April 24, 1994, Harris Todd filed a report with the Isle of Palms police after his ex-wife, Dorothy Lee Barnett, never returned Savanna after a visitation. The report was filed late in the night, nearly six hours after the child was to have been returned.

"Harris never quit looking for Savanna," Sturgis said. "He always kept the porch light on and for many, many years. He kept her room at age appropriate decorating. He was looking hard everywhere he could for help."

According to U.S. District Attorney Bill Nettles, Barnett was arrested earlier this month in Australia. She has been charged with one count of International Parental Kidnapping and two counts of False Statement in a Passport application .

Sturgis said his client has no idea what the now 20-year-old knows of her biological father.

"We don't know what Savanna was told, but we believe that most likely she was not aware of any of her early years," Sturgis said.

The relationship between Todd and Barnett was allegedly rocky. The two were divorced soon before Savanna was born. Barnett exhibited what Sturgis calls suspicious behavior, months before she allegedly kidnapped the child.

"The second round of visitation she had, [Barnett] refused to return the child from weekend visitation and was required to have supervised visitation after that," Sturgis said.

The attorney said Savanna has expressed interest in reconnecting with her biological father when the time is right.

"[Savanna] has indicated that she does want to meet with him but on her own time table," Sturgis said. "She's got a lot of things to cope with right now obviously."

Barnett is still behind bars in Australia after she was denied bond on November 12. She will remain in jail until an extradition hearing is held in February.

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