Kidnapping Victim Coming Home

March 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
South Valley detectives are hoping to reunite a kidnapped toddler with her father very soon. Investigators with the Kings County District Attorney's office traveled to Minnesota on Monday.They're working to bring a 4-year old Fresno girl back to her father, after they said her mother abducted the girl six months ago.

Four-year old Marina Vienne Johnsen will soon be returned to her father's Kings County home after being on the run with her mother for six months. Marina was found with her mother, Karen Johnsen at this Minneapolis homeless shelter?far away from Johnsen's Fresno home.

Thom Snyder, Kings County District Attorney's Office, said "She used to work for a law firm in Fresno and apparently had been planning this for a while because our information is that she asked for 3 weeks off."

Snyder said after the law firm denied her vacation Johnsen quit, then took off with Marina. Authorities said Johnsen refused to let Marina's father see their daughter even though he had just been granted visitation rights. They believe Johnsen tried to go to Canada, but after running out of money, ended up in the "People Saving People" homeless shelter in Minneapolis. Snyder said, "Then, after some period of time, she became comfortable and divulged to them exactly what was going on."

Karen Johnson tried to dramatically changed her appearance. This recent mug shot shows her hair is now blond. But officials at the shelter matched Marina's face with her picture on a missing persons website, then contacted the police.

Jim Minor, People Saving People, said "We went up to actually check and see and look at the person and see if there was a match and it definitely was the same child."

Marina identified her father in a family picture to authorities and was placed in child protective services. Investigators plan on reuniting the child with her father this week. They said he has been anxiously waiting to see his little girl.

Investigators hope to transport Karen Johnsen back to Kings County within a couple weeks. If she's convicted of the abduction charges she'll face, she could be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison

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