Father of Ex-Lesbian Who Fled Country With Daughter Takes the Stand at ‘International Kidnapping’ Trial

Miller and Isabella
Miller and Isabella

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The father of an ex-lesbian who fled the country seven years ago with her child took the stand on Friday, being called as a prosecutorial witness by the government to testify against his daughter and Philip Zodhiates, a man who is accused of being a part of a complex “international kidnapping” conspiracy.

Terry Miller described a strained relationship with his daughter, Lisa Miller, who lived with her mother after her parents divorced. She later moved in with him when she turned 18.

“It wasn’t a close relationship,” he told the court, stating that it “was a little contentious.”

Terry Miller remarried, and Lisa’s mother died in 1988.

Lisa attended Northern Virginia Community College while living with her father, and when she transferred to James Madison University, their relationship was even more so “further away.” While in college, she met and married Kirk McConchie, but it was a “very short” marriage, Terry testified, as they likewise divorced.

The Washington Post reported in 2007 that Miller struggled with being intimate with her husband due to a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, which adversely affected their marriage.

“I tried [to secretly date men],” Lisa told the outlet at the that time, advising that her mother, who she described as “mentally ill,” forbid her from having relationships with men. “She would always find out. ‘All men are evil.’ That’s what I grew up with. ‘They only want one thing.'”

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She said that she turned to alcohol in an attempt to deal with her problems, and soon ended up in AA, where she met Janet Jenkins and entered into a relationship with her, although “I did not feel sexually attracted to women.”

Terry Miller testified on Friday that he learned of Lisa’s civil union to Jenkins through Lisa’s brother Christopher, whose communication with Lisa was also “cold.” He said he never visited his daughter when she lived with Jenkins in Vermont, but went to see her and her daughter Isabella when she moved back to Virginia when the relationship ended.

Miller said that his daughter called him in August 2009 and wanted to visit. The child visitation battle between Lisa and Janet was underway during this time.

“Fine,” he told the court of the visitation request. “She (Lisa) is my daughter.”

Lisa and Isabella stayed with Miller for four to five days, but he did not spend time with them as he was working, Miller told the court. The extent of his contact was dropping them off at a water park and giving Lisa money as she was in dire financial straits.

That was the last time he saw her.

Lisa did, however, call her father, including in September 2009, when he says she phoned him and ask that he call Philip Zodhiates to tell him the location of the Walmart where she was present.

Terry Miller said he didn’t know what his daughter was doing and didn’t ask. He later described his daughter as being “hard-headed,” “introverted” and “very much secretive,” a woman who has her “own way of doing things” and is “determined.”

“I don’t pry,” he stated. “It’s not my business.”

It is believed that Miller met Zodhiates in the Walmart parking lot, where he picked her up and drove her to New York. Miller’s car was later found in the lot, and was towed and soon sold as scrap metal.

But questions were raised in the court on Friday as it was discussed how Lisa’s father received a hand-written Grandparents Day card from Isabella and an apology letter from Lisa presumably after, according to the timeline, they had fled the country—but the cards and letter were postmarked within the United States, in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“Did you say that they could be hiding right under our noses?” the defense asked, pointing to testimony he had given to the FBI as he had showed the card and letter to the government.

Others also testified as the first week of the two-week trial came to an end, including Janet Stasulli, a 27-year member of the late Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. Stasulli had met Lisa Miller through ex-lesbian Linda Wall with Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest faith-based female lobbying group. Isabella had served as a flower girl in Stasulli’s wedding.

When asked how he would describe Miller as a tenant, Anthony Phelps, Miller’s landlord, stated that she was a “good tenant and paid the rent on time.” Therefore, in the winter of 2009, when her rent uncharacteristically began falling behind, Phelps used a key to enter the apartment.

He testified that he found it unoccupied, but left just as it was—with unmade beds and dishes in the sink. He also recalled seeing a map in the kitchen with pins touching different locations. Members of Keystone Baptist Church (Miller’s church) paid for the rent and came and cleaned out the dwelling, donating the contents to Goodwill.

John Collmus, a teacher at Covenant School in Charlottesville, likewise took the stand, advising that Philip Zodhiates had emailed to ask if he would take “two pieces” of luggage with him on his upcoming trip to Nicaragua for a woman named “Sarah,” which is believed to be Lisa Miller’s disguise name.

“I did not pack them. One of the elders at the church did,” Zodhiates wrote in the email, which was presented by the prosecution at the trial.

Zodhiate’s part-time receptionist, Beatrice Conner Daugherty, told the court that Zodhiates never told her of his plans to drive Miller from Virginia to New York. She said she never asked about Zodhiates’ whereabouts as it was common for him to be away, being “continually in and out of the office.”

As previously reported, Zodhiates is accused of driving Miller to Buffalo, New York, where she then crossed the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. (See the indictment here.) The trial is consequently being held in Buffalo as the accused crimes took place within its jurisdiction.

The situation began in 2000, when Miller, then a homosexual, joined in a civil union with lesbian Jenkins in the state of Vermont. Following an artificial insemination procedure from a male sperm donor, Miller gave birth to a daughter, named Isabella, in 2002. But even then, Miller had concern.

“There were numerous incidents of Janet going to [the Internet] and putting up naked women on the screen saver, and I would ask her to please change it,” Lisa later told the court, according to the Washington Post.

“I don’t have clean hands, either. Previously, before … the baby was born, [pornography] was used in our relationship,” she said. “When we moved to Vermont, Isabella was 4 months old, and I said this stuff has to go … There’s a baby in this house now. I don’t want that.”

In 2003, Miller and Jenkins split over continued tension in their relationship, part of which involved the miscarriage of Miller’s second pregnancy, and Miller moved to Virginia. She renounced homosexuality and reportedly turned to Jesus Christ to be born again.

“It wasn’t a struggle,” she recalled of walking away from the homosexual lifestyle. “I felt peace.”

When the civil union between Miller and Jenkins was officially dissolved, the court gave custody to Miller, while also granting visitation rights to Jenkins.

While Miller did allow Isabella to spend time with Jenkins for a while, she reportedly became concerned at the information that her daughter was providing to her following the visitations.

Later, Miller testified to the court that the visits were causing great trauma to Isabella. She claimed that at six years old, the girl was forced to take baths together with Jenkins, and that the girl was openly touching herself inappropriately. She also stated that Isabella was withdrawn and talked about suicide at times.

“Isabella came home and said, ‘Mommy, will you please tell Janet that I don’t have to take a bath anymore at her house,’” Miller told reporters in 2008. “I asked her what happened. She said, ‘Janet took a bath with me.’ I asked her if she had a bathing suit on. ‘No, Mommy.’ She had no clothes on and it totally scared Isabella. She had never seen this woman except once in 2 ½ years and she takes a bath with her.”

“Last year, Isabella put a comb up to her neck and said she wanted to kill herself after one of the visits,” she outlined. “She took a comb and pressed it into her neck and said, ‘I want to kill myself.’ I don’t know where she got that. It was immediately after a visit. Other people have seen huge changes.”

Miller then filed for exclusive custody of Isabella, and the court agreed. She told the Washington Post, “I don’t see Janet as a parent, first and foremost. Secondly, I don’t want to expose Isabella to Janet’s lifestyle. It goes against all my beliefs. I am raising Isabella to pattern herself after Christ. That’s my job as a Christian mom. Homosexuality is a sin.”

However, Jenkins fought the ruling all the way up to the Virginia Supreme Court, which in 2008, ruled in favor of granting Miller’s former lesbian partner visitation rights. Miller refused.

The following year, family court judge Richard Cohen warned Miller that she must allow Isabella to visit Jenkins and threatened that if she did not do so, he would transfer full custody to Jenkins. In November 2009, Cohen followed through with his threats and ordered Miller to hand the child over to Jenkins.

However, Miller had fled the country with Isabella before he issued the transfer order, and for some time, none knew the whereabouts of the two. It was later discovered that they had fled to Nicaragua via the help of a number of Mennonite Christians and their contacts.

In addition to Zodhiates, American missionary to Nicaragua Timothy “Timo” Miller—no relation to any in the case—is also accused of arranging Lisa Miller’s travel arrangements from Canada and assisting her upon her arrival to Nicaragua. He was recently arrested, and is currently being held in a Nicaraguan prison where he awaits to learn whether officials will deport him back to the United States.

Mennonite pastor Ken Miller is currently serving 27 months behind bars for his alleged part in the escape. As previously reported, he was held in contempt on Wednesday for refusing to testify against Zodhiates “for reasons of faith and conscience.”

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  • Michael C

    Why do these articles keep referring to Miller (the kidnapper) as an “ex-lesbian” when she states, in no uncertain terms, that she was never a lesbian?

    • Daddy50

      She may not have openly identified as lesbian but she lived with another woman in a civil union and committed lesbian acts. Thus, it doesn’t seem a stretch to use that terminology.

      • Amos Moses

        He knew that ……..

      • Michael C

        My guess is that she did, in fact, openly identify as a lesbian at that time in her life. She now says that she’s never been sexually attracted to women. If that’s true, she was never a lesbian so she cannot now be considered an “ex-lesbian.”

        This site seems to be placing emphasis on the idea that she was able to change her sexual orientation despite that fact that this notion is in direct contradiction with the information provided.

        • Amos Moses

          “This site seems to be placing emphasis on the idea that she was able to change her sexual orientation despite that fact that this notion is in direct contradiction with the information provided.”

          so people are incapable of change ….. really ….. what a sad way to view life ….. i am a victim …. boo hoo … i was born a thief …. i was born a murderer …. you should accept me and if you dont you are a bigot ………. pathetic …..

          • Michael C

            If you want to argue, please start by disputing something that I’ve actually said.

            As an aside, your excessive and bizarre use of ellipses makes your comment difficult to take seriously.

          • Amos Moses

            you are saying people cannot change …….. “If that’s true, she was never a lesbian so she cannot now be considered an “ex-lesbian.””

            and it is all BS ……………

        • ComeOnPeople!

          Mankind unlike animals are able to make sound judgements and choices. Animals live according to instinct and do not have the ability to make choices based upon morals or a conscience . Therefore if one is human and makes the choice to be with someone of the same gender intimately in a relationship then that person also has the ability to choose another course . We as humans are not ruled by our thoughts, attractions or emotions but rather as intelligent beings we have the ability to choose which thoughts, attractions or emotions we will adhere to or disregard. We are not slaves but masters of our thoughts. Any man or woman who claims they cannot change a course they have taken has fallen prey to deception and are blinded to reality, thereby reducing themselves to a mere creature of habit.

          • Michael C

            I’ll tell you the same thing I told Amos Moses;

            If you want to argue, please start by disputing something that I’ve actually said.

          • ComeOnPeople!

            You said… “This site seems to be placing emphasis on the IDEA that she was ABLE to CHANGE her sexual orientation…

            This implied to me that you believe the lie that homosexuals cannot change and be ex-homosexual. Therefore I stated the above, because to imply that humans are void of choice in regard to behavior is silly. To imply that women and men must obey thoughts, attractions or their emotions is silly. If you were not implying that a homosexual cannot change, then there is nothing to debate and I apologize for reading into your statement something you do not believe. But if my interpretation of your statement was correct then the above rebuttal was indeed to dispute what you implied.

          • Michael C

            It’s better to respond to what a person says rather than what you think they may mean.

            Obviously people can act in a manner that is contrary to their natural sexual orientation. Lisa Miller is an example of this. She chose to engage in behaviors that were counter to her heterosexual orientation. Gay people are free to do the same thing by entering into a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. (As is evidenced here, this doesn’t usually work out well)

            A person’s sexual orientation is not, however, defined by their actions.

          • ComeOnPeople!

            Define sexual orientation.

          • Michael C

            ALL [sexual orientations] are defined as attractions and ALL can be acted upon or not acted upon

            You’re repeating exactly what I just said.

            Lisa Miller’s sexual orientation has always been heterosexual.

            Lisa Miller chose to engage in a relationship that was counter to her heterosexual orientation.

            Lisa Miller was a heterosexual woman engaging in a gay relationship. Her orientation was always heterosexual. Just because she was in a gay relationship doesn’t mean that she was gay.

            Our sexual orientation is independent of our chosen actions and, conversely, our chosen actions can be independent and seemingly contradictory to our sexual orientation.

            She cannot be considered “ex-gay” because she was never gay in the first place.

            I’m glad we agree on all of this.

          • ComeOnPeople!

            By definition sexual orientation is the sexual attraction to others , whether those attractions are towards the same gender, the opposite gender or to both and in some case neither… ALL are defined as attractions and ALL can be acted upon or not acted upon by men.

            My point is that you made a statement insinuating that people we are attracted to the same sex are unable to change. Yet an attraction is simply something interesting or enjoyable that people want to do or a feeling that makes them romantically or sexually interested in another person. Therefore I commented because mankind is not a slave to his thoughts or his emotions but can either follow after those attractions or not do so. To insinuate that a person cannot change and go a different route is silly. I could care less if this woman was attracted to women or not, my reply to your post was based upon your statement .

          • Michael C

            …you made a statement insinuating that people who are attracted to the same sex are unable to change.

            How many times do I have to politely ask you to refrain from making assumptions and inferences? If you want to have a discussion, please focus on what I’ve said, not on what you might imagine I’m thinking.

            I said that, according to Lisa Millers own words, her heterosexual orientation never changed. This article is pushing the false idea that she changed her sexual orientation. This is flatly disputed by a direct quote from Miller, herself. You agree with me on this.

            If you think I said something other than this, quote me.

            I said that our sexual orientation is independent of our actions and our actions can be independent of our sexual orientation. This means that even though we may have certain attractions, those attractions do not dictate how we must act. This is exactly what you said. Why are you still arguing with me?

          • ComeOnPeople!

            I think maybe because I have seen your views from other posts and know where you stand on homosexual issues. BUT maybe your view has changed.

  • The kidnap here is that the state kidnapped the child from her mother, to put her in the company of a wicked woman who is no relation of hers. It is a reminder of why hell exists, and why men will suffer eternal torment. They really should have kept things simple and taken the millstone option: unjust lawmakers and unjust judges together. Since they did not take the easier way, we must put up with their raging so that they can show exactly how evil they are, so that we will rejoice when justice is done to them.

  • Gary Metzger

    Thank God the daughter is safe from that lesbian predator.

  • BigHobbit

    Philip Zodhiates found guilty. Eight years in prison.
    Conspiracy to kidnap.
    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  • IzTheBiz

    What is on trial is righteousness. They have people plotting and planning to blow up the country and they spend their time and resources hunting down a mother her wants to save her child from being abused by a homosexual. ‘as in the days of lot…’