Jacqueline Bontzolakes, the Buffalo, New York Underground Mom was sentenced to 18 months in prison for kidnapping by a Federal Judge. After losing of her children in 2010, Bontzolakes obtained U.S. Passports for her children and fled the country to Canada and then to the Barbados. She was found guilty of
International Parental Kidnapping by a Federal Jury. During her trial, she used Domestic Violence at her defense. But Prosecutors argued that her claims of abuse were nothing more than a smokescreen to keep custody of her daughters, ages 7 and 10.
During the sentencing hearing, Bontzolakes said she was abused as a child and was later abused by her boyfriend. Bontzolakes received support from local community members pleading with the courts to give her a lesser sentence.
U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson sentenced Bonzolakes to 18 months in prison, well below the maximum 10 year sentence.
Jacqueline Bontzolakes, like many underground moms never backed down from her position that she went underground to protect her children. This is a case where an underground mom after making the same accusations as Bontzolakes, found herself a foreign country that was engaged in a civil war. Rather give her son over to foster care in a foreign country, she called her former husband and told him to “pick up his son”. In the end, that underground mom’s actions proved that she didn’t truly believe her allegations or her belief at least when faced with a different predicament was substantially different. But Jacqueline Bontzolakes held her position that she did it to protect her child. After her arrest and during her trial, she became a community activist like many other arrested underground moms.
Jacqueline Bontzolakes has not seen her children in 3 years. She calls herself a protective parent and a community activist. However, as we’ve seen in the other underground cases, these parentally kidnapped children and there left behind families are the real victims here. As these families have no doubt worked very hard to rebuild these children’s lives, it’s no doubt that the best way to protect these children is to have Jacqueline Bontzolakes in Prison, as far away from them as possible.