INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – A man who has refused to reveal the whereabouts of his children for nearly two years was found guilty Thursday of kidnapping the youngsters to terrorize his ex-wife.
The jury took about four hours to convict Daniel Porter, 42.
Porter has given various accounts of what happened to his children — that he killed them, that he sold them, that they are now a part of a pornography ring.
Sam and Lindsey have not been seen since June 2004, when Porter picked them up from his ex-wife, Tina Porter, at their Independence home. They were 7 and 8 at the time.
After the verdict, Porter left the courtroom hiding his face behind a yellow legal pad. His ex-wife cried and hugged prosecutors.
He could get up to 38 years in prison for parental kidnapping and terroristic kidnapping.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Bronwyn Werner said Porter used the children to get back at his ex-wife. "He did this to hurt her. That's what he said. He did it to punish her," Werner said. "He did it to spite her."
Defense attorney Tim Burdick said that Porter was abused as a child and that his actions were aimed at protecting his children. "There is no way that my children are going to grow up like I did," Burdick quoted Porter as saying.
Porter was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison on an unrelated gun charge. Prosecutors had hoped the sentence would persuade him to reveal his children's whereabouts.
Sgt. Dennis Green, a detective with the Independence Police Department, said authorities continue to look for the children. Investigators have scoured the Kansas City suburbs of Independence and Sugar Creek and searched the area around Daniel Porter's hometown of Trenton in northern Missouri, but have come up with nothing.
"What happened here today doesn't really change anything," Tina Porter said. "Because Sam and Lindsey are still gone."