PONTIAC, Mich. – A man who authorities say abducted his 2-year-old daughter three decades ago and led her to believe that her mother was killed in a traffic crash was sentenced Thursday to seven months in jail.
Eric Douglas Nielsen, 54, pleaded no contest earlier this month to a parental kidnapping charge and faced up to a year behind bars. A no contest plea in Michigan is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
Nielsen was given credit for 43 days served and ordered to pay about $5,280 in restitution plus extradition costs, according to the office of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Wendy L. Potts, who handed down the sentence.
Nielsen's lawyer had said the plea was made in the best interest of the family and was designed to help end the 30-year-old ordeal.
Nielsen, who had been living under an alias, was extradited from Arizona, where he was imprisoned on an unrelated assault charge.
Sheriff's deputies say Nielsen picked up Genevieve Rachel Nielsen — who is now 32 — at his estranged wife's Oakland County home May 8, 1976. It was to be only an overnight visit, but they never returned.
His daughter, who was raised under another name, was found in May by Michigan authorities.
Laura Gooder, Genevieve's mother, learned that month that her daughter was alive and living in the Phoenix area. Gooder now lives in Frederic, north of Grayling. Gooder remarried after Genevieve's disappearance and she has three sons.