NORFOLK, Va. – A former Virginia Beach woman was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for international parental kidnapping.
News 3 investigative reporter Margaret Kavanagh spoke to the ex-husband of 32-year-old Kathleen Shehadeh, Anthony Gentile, after Shehadeh pleaded guilty in August 2021.
Shehadeh and Gentile had joint custody of their daughter, Amelia. Amelia spent time with both parents based on a court-ordered schedule.
Gentile, who lives in Maryland, told News 3 Amelia was missing for almost two years after his ex-wife made off with her.
Unbeknownst to Gentile, Shehadeh applied for and was granted a New Zealand passport for their daughter. In July 2018, Shehadeh took the then-2-year-old and fled Virginia Beach. They first went to Mexico City, Mexico, and then Shehadeh then took the girl to Bogota, Columbia, and, finally, to Spain.
Shehadeh wrote a letter to Gentile in which Shehadeh falsely stated that she and Amelia were moving out west and would let him know the exact address once they were settled.
Gentile did not hear from Shehadeh or know where his daughter was for more than two years.
He told News 3 for months, he called authorities and politicians, and eventually the FBI got involved. He said at first, there were issues about whose jurisdiction the case was in. He said he wrote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who got the Maryland State Police involved.
Finally, in August 2020, Gentile tracked Shehadeh and his daughter to Tenerife, Spain, and was able to reunite and come back to the United States with Amelia.
Shehadeh was arrested by the Spanish authorities on the federal warrant and eventually waived extradition to return to the United States and face the charge.