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Mom who snatched kids gets 1 year in jail

A woman who took her children from Spokane 12 years ago will spend six more months in jail.

 Jill D. Haugen, 48, was sentenced on Tuesday to a year in jail with credit for six months already served.

A jury convicted her earlier this month of two counts of custodial interference after she left Spokane with her two sons in 1998 despite a court order granting her estranged husband, Bill Connington, custody.

Connington didn’t hear from them until police Milton, Pa., located them with Haugen in December in an arrest that attracted national attention.

Haugen will be on probation for a year once she leaves jail. The boys are to move to Spokane this year to live with Connington.

A reader who wishes to remain an anonymous set up a donation account for Connington.

To donate, visit any U.S. Bank.

Past coverage:

June 20: Dad hopes today will be last Father’s Day alone

April 11: Rebuilding a fractured family

Jury convicts mom who took kids years ago

A jury has convicted a woman of custodial interference for taking her children from Spokane 12 years ago.

Jill D. Haugen, 48, was found guilty after a short trial before Judge Neal Reilly this week.

She has not yet been sentenced. Custodial interference carries a sentence of up to a year in jail; Haugen has been in custody since December and has no previous criminal record.

Haugen took her two sons from Spokane 12 years ago, despite a court order granting her estranged husband, Bill Connington, custody. Connington didn’t hear from them again until police Milton, Pa., located them in December in an arrest that attracted national attention.

The boys are to move to Spokane this year to live with Connington. 

During trial, Haugen testified about alleged abuse she and her sons experience from Connington, but police have found no merit to her claims.

A jury apparently didn’t, either. Haugen remains in jail awaiting sentencing.

A reader who wishes to remain an anonymous set up a donation account for Connington.

To donate, visit any U.S. Bank.

Past coverage: April 11: Rebuilding a fractured family

Donation account created for reunited family

A donation account has been created to help a father who’s reuniting with his sons after more than a decade.

A reader who wishes to remain an anonymous set up the account for Bill Connington. Connington’s ex-wife, Jill D. Haugen, is accused of taking the couple’s sons from Spokane 12 years ago, despite a court order granting Connington custody.

Connington, who works in maintenance at the NorthTown Mall, didn’t hear from them again until police Milton, Pa., located them in December.

The boys are to move to Spokane this summer to live with Connington. Donations could help buy furniture for the teens and help Connington visit them before the move.

To donate, visit any U.S. Bank.

Read more about the case in my Sunday story: Rebuilding a fractured family

Mom in ‘98 kidnapping due in Spokane soon

A woman accused of kidnapping her sons from her ex-husband 12 years ago is expected back in Spokane this week to face a felony charge after fighting extradition from Pennsylvania.

Jill D. Haugen, who also is known as Jill Connington, has been in a Pennsylvania jail since Dec. 29, when police arrested her on suspicion that she picked up her sons for a visit in 1998 but never returned them.

The boys, now 17 and 15, were living with Haugen in Milton, Pa., where she was going by the name Ann Thompson.

Spokane police are expected to travel to Pennsylvania this week to get Haugen, who faces one charge of child custodial interference, said Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor John Love. The felony carries a maximum penalty of about a year in jail. The boys were set to return to their father, William Connington of Spokane.

“The bigger picture is here’s a father who hadn’t seen his kids for 10 years, and thought he probably never would see his kids again,” Love said.

Haugen, 48, said as said 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. She faces a $25,000 bail in Spokane County, the same amount she’s been held on in Pennsylvania.

William Connington testified at an extradition hearing in Northumberland County on Friday, according to The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.

“She ran because she knew she was going to lose the kids. Not because of anything else,” he said, according to an article you can read here.