Harris Todd, a stockbroker in North Carolina, had full custody of his 10-month-old daughter Savanna Todd in 1994 until Savanna’s mother, Dorothy “Lee” Barnett, kidnapped the infant. For 20 years, Lee traveled the world with Savanna using fraudulent passports. Lee changed her name to Alex Geldenhuys, and Savanna became Samantha Geldenhuys. After receiving a tip that the mother and daughter were living in Australia, 12 federal FBI agents went Down Under to arrest Lee and deport her back to the States to face a judge.
Lee Barnett pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison but she served just four as she was given credit for time served between jails in the US and Australia. Now a free woman, Barnett is giving her first interview with 48 Hours which will air November 14 at 8pm on CBS. Barnett explains exactly how she was able to live on the lam for so long while authorities repeatedly came up empty. “I feel the FBI,” she says, “underestimated me.”