A 42-year-old Jacksonville man pleaded guilty Thursday to international parental kidnapping after he fled to Mexico with his son after divorcing his wife, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Dennis Lee Henning faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison when he is sentenced, no date set for that hearing yet, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Federal law prohibits a parent from removing a child from the United States or taking a child into another country with intent to obstruct another parent’s custodial rights, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
As a result of a divorce approved May 25, Henning was ordered to share custody of his son. Before that divorce was final, Henning had posted Facebook comments critical of his ex-wife, the court system and the United States and expressing his willingness to give up his citizenship and leave the country with his child, prosecutors said. He also told a friend that he might run away with the child to Costa Rica or Canada to avoid losing custody.
On May 31, Henning drove to Mexico with his son without telling the mother. The former wife repeatedly called and sent him text messages, which he ignored, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Mexican authorities arrested Henning on unrelated firearms charges, and his former wife went to Mexico to recover her son and return to Jacksonville.
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