Police in central Pennsylvania say a woman accused of kidnapping her own sons from Spokane has been arrested after 11 years as a fugitive.
An arrest warrant was issued in Spokane in 1998 for a woman who was going by different names, including Jill Diane Haugen, the Associated Press reported. She was known in Spokane by her legal name, Jill Connington.
The 48-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday at her home in Milton, Pa., where she was going by Ann Thompson.
Milton police Officer Todd Ulrich said he reached the children’s father on the phone in Spokane on Tuesday. Ulrich said William Connington was “absolutely surprised” and had thought he’d never see his sons again. Connington’s 17-year-old son, Anthony, and 15-year-old son, Jamey, are in foster care for now.
Spokane police said they received a call Monday from Milton police about the case.
“So we did some looking up, and got the reports and got the warrant, and sure enough we did have an active warrant for first-degree child custodial interference” for Haugen, said Lt. Dave McGovern of the Spokane Police Department Major Crimes unit.
McGovern said before local police agreed to proceed with the extradition of Haugen back to Washington, detectives made sure the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office would be willing to prosecute an 11-year-old crime.
“They were more than willing to proceed with the prosecution of this case,” McGovern said.
The AP reported that Haugen said Tuesday that she is a victim of domestic violence and her sons are victims of sexual abuse. Police say there’s no merit to her claims. McGovern said detectives had not yet uncovered any evidence of the alleged abuse.
Police in Milton went to Haugen’s home Saturday on a call of a family dispute. The woman there identified herself as Jill Haugen.
Officers returned to the home the next day, and the same woman identified herself as Ann Thompson.
Officials from Northumberland County, Pa., child and youth services were called into the case and took the two children into foster care.
Police and youth officials found that the woman was using many aliases. Since taking the children from Spokane, she changed the boys’ names and supposed birthdates several times, Spokane police said.
According to records, William and Jill Connington filed for divorce in Spokane County in 1997. The warrant was filed in 1998. The divorce was granted in 2000, two years after the woman and the boys went missing.