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A Tennessee pastor and missionary worker charged last week with aiding the international kidnapping of a young child in a high-profile lesbian custody case appeared in federal court in Vermont on Monday and was released on $25,000 bond.
U.S. attorney for Vermont Tristam Coffin told The Advocate that Timothy D. Miller, 34, appeared before U.S. magistrate judge John M. Conroy Monday morning but was released; he is scheduled to appear before the court for a probable cause hearing on May 10.
Miller was represented in court by federal public defender Steven L. Barth, who did not return a request for comment.
In the custody case, Lisa Miller (any relation to Timothy Miller has not been established) disappeared in 2009 with her now 9-year-old daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins, after she was ordered to give full custody of the child to her former partner, Janet Jenkins. The couple, who obtained a civil union in Vermont in 2000, dissolved their union in 2003.
The case has drawn significant attention in recent days because of an FBI investigation that uncovered possible links to missionary groups and the social conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel, of which an administrative assistant working there may have helped to provide supplies assistance to Miller and her daughter, now believed to be living in Nicaragua.
After the couple split, Miller renounced her homosexuality and became an avowed Baptist. The Liberty Counsel employee's father, Philip Zodhiates, was said to be hosting Miller and her child in a vacation rental home he owns in Nicaragua, according to the FBI affidavit. Zodhiates denied those charges in a request to comment from The Advocate on Friday.
Story developing. Read the Friday Advocate report here.