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Mother Convicted Of Kidnapping In Vegas PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mesquite Local News   

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced that Paula Michelle Mitchell had been convicted of Second Degree Kidnapping after pleading guilty to the charges in Clark County District Court in connection with the two year long abduction of her son from the father of the child who was the lawful custodial parent.

Mitchell was charged by the Office of the Attorney General with Kidnapping after she disobeyed a court order to surrender the child to the custody of the court which had awarded custody to the father.

“Child abduction cases are among the highest priority of cases for the Attorney General’s office because of their inherent danger to the children who are the ultimate victims,” said Attorney General Masto.

Nevada law criminalizes parental kidnappings when a parent abducts a child in violation of a court order entered to protect the safety, health, or welfare of the child.

Evidence in the case indicated that Mitchell had been living underground for several years and was moving from state to state after abducting her son in an effort to hide the child from his father and to thwart the ability of family courts to obtain jurisdiction over the missing child.

The father had spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to locate his son.

When private investigators located the missing child in Oklahoma after a year-long search, his father served Mitchell with court papers which resulted in a day-long hearing before a judge.

The evidence at the hearing indicated that Mitchell had lived in at least eight states in two years, including Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri in an effort to evade the child’s father and the legal process.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Mitchell was ordered to surrender the child, but, prior to the hearing, she had secreted him to an unknown location in Texas out of reach of the Oklahoma judge.

When the judge ordered her to surrender the child within seven days, Mitchell fled the jurisdiction and failed to comply with the order, ending up in Las Vegas.

The Oklahoma judge then issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mitchell for violating his order.

Mitchell came to Las Vegas and filed a family court case attempting to terminate the father’s parental rights by claiming she did not know his whereabouts and had had no contact with him for an extended period of time.

After she obtained the order, it was learned that she had known where the father of the child was living and had misrepresented the facts of the case to the family court judge.

She also did not inform the Nevada court that a judge in Oklahoma had entered a custody order granting custody of the child to his father.

After the child’s father hired an attorney to inform the family court of Mitchell’s fraudulent misrepresentations, the court rescinded the order and made findings that Mitchell had engaged in fraud against the family court.

Investigators from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office located Mitchell when she appeared at the family court building in Las Vegas to file additional court papers.

She was charged with First Degree Kidnapping, and agreed to plea guilty to Second Degree kidnapping in exchange for a reduced potential sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, Mitchell was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 28 months to 120 months in the Nevada State prison.

The sentence was suspended and Mitchell was placed on probation under the supervision of the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation for three years, during which time she will have to comply with a lengthy list of conditions including community service and having no contact with the victim of the crime.

“Child abduction cases, whether by non-custodial parents or by strangers, are often associated with other crimes such as domestic violence and extortion, and can result in extreme tragedies like murder-suicides,” said Victor-Hugo Schulze, II, Senior Deputy Attorney General and Nevada State Advocate for Missing and Exploited Children.

“By the time they become matters for the criminal justice system, they have moved light years beyond the context of simple child custody disputes.”


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