NEW ORLEANS, La. (KLFY) – A Louisiana man has pled guilty to international parental kidnapping.
Kidus Awlachew, 33, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty after being charged in a one-count bill of information with international parental kidnapping, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Louisiana.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Awlachew and an adult female (person one) began dating around 2018 and person one and her daughter (the minor victim) moved into his residence. Between 2018 and Jan. 2022, Awlachew often acted in a parental capacity toward the minor victim.
Around December 2021, Awlachew told person one that he wanted to take the minor victim to Ethiopia for one month and person one agreed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Awlachew intended to keep the minor victim in Ethiopia for more than one month.
Awlachew then purchased tickets to travel on Jan. 14, 2022, and return on Feb. 21, 2022. However, Awlachew and the minor victim did not return on Feb. 21, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Person one asked why Awlachew had not returned with the minor victim and demanded that he do so. Awlachew either ignored the inquiries or provided a false justification for not returning, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Law enforcement later recovered the minor victim on July 20, 2022, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and took Awlachew into custody.
The minor victim then returned to New Orleans and reunited with her mother. Awlachew was returned to the United States on Aug. 24, 2022.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Awlachew faces up to three years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentencing has been scheduled for June 13, 2023.
“The ending in this case might have been much different without the coordination and cooperation between national and international partners,” said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. “We thank the Louisiana State Police, the State Department, our fellow agents in Addis Ababa, and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for bringing this case to a swift and positive conclusion.”