BUFFALO - Two Jamestown residents will serve three years in prison after kidnapping their niece and taking her to Mexico for two years.
Linda Wynn, 63, and William Amacher, 40, were sentenced Wednesday by William Skretny, Chief U.S. District Court judge, after pleading guilty to the charges in March. The three-year sentence is the maximum they could receive.
In 2007, Linda Wynn had custody of R.J. Myers, 8, though the child's mother was in the process of regaining custody. A few days before Ms. Wynn was to turn R.J. back over to her mother, Ms. Wynn and Amacher, her son, fled the country. On Jan 26, 2007, Rhonda-Jean Leonard, R.J.'s mother, reported the child missing to the Jamestown Police Department and some time later, the case was picked up by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department. David Morton was the county's lead investigator on the case.
In 2009, Morton received information that the trio might be in Mexico, and as he was following up on the lead, a child matching R.J's description was spotted in Matamoros, going door-to-door begging for food. That tip resulted in a picture of R.J. Myers being entered into a missing persons database and confirmed the child's identity.
Amacher, was reportedly working at a local school in the Mexican town where he was teaching English while Wynn was unemployed.
Once they were notified, Mexican authorities identified Wynn and Amacher, who were then expelled from Mexico and turned over to the FBI, various Texas law enforcement agencies, Morton from the sheriff's department and the U.S. Marshals.
''This case highlights just how valuable information from the public can be in helping to resolve a case,'' said William Hochul, U.S. attorney. ''It also sends a strong message that we will cross borders if necessary to bring a defendant to justice.''
Michael DiGiacomo, assistant U.S. attorney, handled the case. The conviction was the culmination of an investigation by the FBI and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.