JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 42-year-old Jacksonville man pleaded guilty Thursday for taking a child he shared custody of with his ex-wife out of the country.
Dennis Lee Henning faces up to three years in prison on a charge of international parental kidnapping. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, Henning was ordered in divorce proceedings in May of last year to share custody with the child’s mother, who was named as the majority timeshare parent. Before that divorce was final, Henning made Facebook posts that were critical of his ex-wife, the court system and the United States. Prosecutors said he expressed his willingness to give up his citizenship and leave the country with his child and confided in a friend that, to avoid losing custody, he might run away with the child to Costa Rica or Canada.
On May 31, 2017, without telling the child’s mother, Henning drove to Mexico with the child. Unable to locate Henning or her son, Henning’s ex-wife repeatedly called and sent him text messages, which he ignored. After Mexican authorities arrested Henning on unrelated firearms charges, his ex-wife was able to travel to Mexico, recover her child and return to Jacksonville.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.