March 7, 2015
Source: NBC Washington
A mother whose plane was turned around after she tried to take her 4-year-old son to China was convicted Friday of attempted international parental kidnapping.
Wenjing Liu, 32, was convicted by a federal jury in Alexandria on Friday.
She was arrested in September 2014 after she and her son boarded United Airlines Flight 897 en route for Beijing.
Authorities say she and the boy’s father, an American citizen, had separated in 2013 and that a joint custody order had forbidden either parent from taking the little boy outside the United States without the other parent’s consent.
Authorities said that less than 90 minutes before their flight took off, Liu emailed the boy’s father, William Ruifrok III. She told him that her grandmother was dying, and she and the boy were returning to China immediately.
Ruifrok responded via email that the child “is not going, u cant take him to school, I will pick him up. He will stay with me until u return.”
Authorities said Liu, also known as Linda Liu, took the boy anyway, and Ruifrok went to Dulles International Airport and alerted officials. The plane was in Canadian airspace when it was ordered to return to Dulles.
Liu was arrested at the airport, and the boy was given to his father.
At the time, Liu told investigators she intended to return the boy to the U.S. in about three months, but there were no records for any return flight for the child.
She faces up to three years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 5.