A federal judge in Texas on Wednesday sentenced a Brazilian couple to short prison terms for helping to kidnap their grandson from the US.
A Houston jury had convicted Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes in May for helping their daughter relocate their grandson Nico Brann to Brazil five years ago, without his American father’s permission.
The grandparents faced up to three years in prison, but a federal judge sentenced Carlos Guimaraes to three months and Jemima to one month.
They were each also fined $75,000.
The case generated international headlines after the couple in their 60s were arrested in February while arriving in Miami for vacation. The couple’s daughter Marcelle Guimaraes relocated her then-three-year-old child to Brazil in 2013 under allegedly false pretenses and without the permission of his American father Chris Brann, a Houston physician.
They divorced in 2012.
Brann claims his ex-wife told him the trip would only last a few weeks, but the child was never brought back to the US.
Guimaraes’s parents allegedly helped her hide her motives, before the South American country’s legal system granted the mother full custody.
The grandparents presented evidence during trial that the child’s mother was fleeing domestic violence, according to local media.
“The world needs to know the truth because I married a monster,” Marcelle Guimaraes, who is now a fugitive wanted by the FBI, told Houston TV station KHOU prior to the sentencing.
“My ex-husband’s lies and manipulation has destroyed my family, my whole family.”
Brann testified before the US Congress in 2016 to ask Washington to impose sanctions on Brazil for violating an international standard requiring the return of children to their home country, if they were taken in violation of custody agreements.
A similar dispute led to the Sean Goldman Act in 2014, authorizing Washington to take action in international child custody disputes.