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Congressman's kidnapped grandkids retrieved from Mexico

KABC-TV covers Los Angeles and Southern California.

August 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A woman suspected of kidnapping her three children and fleeing to Mexico was apprehended Wednesday. U.S. Representative Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) is grandfather of the three children.

Jennifer Lopez-Dejongh is accused of kidnapping her three children on Nov. 9, 2007, in violation of a shared-custody court agreement with her ex-husband, Brian Miller, son of Rep. Miller.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was assigned to investigate the case. Investigators followed leads that indicated Lopez-Dejongh had fled to Mexico, according to the department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was cooperating in the ongoing investigation.

Lopez-Dejongh was located in Mexicali, Mexico, Wednesday by FBI special agents working with Mexican law enforcement in Tijuana. Lopez-Dejongh and the three children were detained without incident, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.

Sheriff's Department investigators received custody of the suspect and the three children at the San Ysidro border crossing at about 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the department.

Lopez-Dejongh, 34, was booked on the outstanding California warrant for Depriving Custody in Violation of a Court Order and federal charges of Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, according to the department. She was held on $500,000 bail.

Lopez-Dejongh will be prosecuted by the L.A. County District Attorney's Office, according to the sheriff's department.

The three boys, ages 10, 10, and 12 (two are twins), were transferred to the L.A. County Dept. of Children and Family Services pending custody arrangements.

Rep. Miller released a statement following the arrest:

"My wife and I are extremely relieved that after more than three and a half years our grandchildren have been found unharmed and returned safely to the United States. My family is eternally grateful to the FBI, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Mexican authorities and all those whose hard work and unwavering dedication made this possible. I would also like to express my deep appreciation for all of my colleagues, friends, and constituents who have given my family their support and their prayers during this extremely difficult time."

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