JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal jury today found Salih Zeki Uces, 39, guilty of international parental kidnapping. Uces, a dual Turkish/United States citizen, faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5.
Uces was indicted on Dec. 1, 2016, after being arrested at the Miami International Airport on Nov. 10, 2016.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Uces asked his estranged wife for an overnight visit with their 2-year-old child at a Jacksonville hotel on Sept. 16, 2016, and promised to return the child on the following day or the day after. Instead, he took the child to the Jacksonville International Airport and boarded a series of three flights bound for Adana, Turkey.
Two days before taking the child, Uces had gone to his estranged wife’s apartment, rifled through her personal items and stolen her passport. While in her apartment, he also viewed a draft divorce petition in his wife’s email.
Three days before leaving, Uces signed a power of attorney over to his brother, allowing his brother to sell his car while he was in Turkey. On the day of the kidnapping, Uces closed out his safety deposit box at a local bank branch.
Uces refused his estranged wife’s requests to return the child until after he learned that a state court had issued an authorization for his arrest. Ultimately, on Nov. 10, 2016, he returned to the United States with the child and was arrested by FBI agents. The child was immediately returned to her mother.