A Vermont judge overseeing a custody battle ordered the arrest Tuesday of a Virginia woman who renounced homosexuality, became an evangelical Christian and disappeared with the young daughter she had with her ex-partner.
Judge William Cohen found Lisa Miller of Forest, Va., in contempt of court and issued the arrest warrant during a brief hearing in Rutland County family court.
“I hope the judge’s order today gives law enforcement the tools they need to find my daughter,” Miller’s former partner, Janet Jenkins, said after the hearing, holding up pictures of the girl, Isabella, and asking anyone who has seen her to contact police or the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Miller’s attorney Stephen Crampton said by phone during the hearing that he did not know where the girl, now 7, or Miller are and that he objects to the arrest warrant, which applies only in Vermont.
“It seems that it would be an exercise in futility, given that while no one has any idea precisely where Ms. Miller and Isabella may be located as of right now, it seems least likely” that they would be in Vermont, he said.
Jenkins’ attorney said it would be up to the Rutland County state’s attorney, Marc Brierre, to seek a national arrest warrant on felony charges of custodial interference. Brierre was out of his office Tuesday and unavailable for comment.
Miller and Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000, and Isabella was born to Miller in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Miller moved to Virginia.
Cohen initially awarded custody to Miller and gave Jenkins liberal visitation rights. But Cohen ordered a switch in custody in November after finding Miller in contempt of court for denying Jenkins access to the girl.
A switch in custody had been scheduled for Jan. 1, but Miller and Isabella didn’t appear. At a court hearing in Rutland last month, Cohen gave Miller 30 more days to appear.