RUTLAND, Vt. – A Vermont judge overseeing a custody battle ordered the arrest Tuesday of a Virginia woman whose whereabouts are unknown after she renounced homosexuality, became an evangelical Christian and took off with the young daughter she had with her ex-partner.
Judge William Cohen found Lisa Miller of Forest, Va., in contempt of court and issued the arrest warrant during a brief hearing in Rutland County family court.
"I hope the judge's order today gives law enforcement the tools they need to find my daughter," Miller's former partner, Janet Jenkins, said after the hearing.
The 7-year-old girl, Isabella, is considered a missing person. Miller's attorney Stephen Crampton said by phone that he did not know where the girl or Miller are and that he objects to the arrest warrant.
The arrest order applies only in Vermont. Jenkins' attorney said it would be up to the Rutland County state's attorney, Marc Brierre, to file charges that could lead to a nationwide arrest warrant. Brierre was out of his office Tuesday and unavailable for comment.
Miller and Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000, and Isabella was born to Miller in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Miller moved to Virginia.
Cohen initially awarded custody to Miller and gave Jenkins liberal visitation rights. But Cohen ordered a switch in custody in November after finding Miller in contempt of court for denying Jenkins access to the girl.
A switch in custody had been scheduled for Jan. 1, but Miller and Isabella didn't appear. At a court hearing in Rutland last month, Cohen gave Miller 30 more days to appear.
Isabella has been registered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Jenkins said.