USAF officer found guilty of kidnapping child after wife became overweight, allegedly abusive

Andrew Haley Morcomb

Tampa, FL – A former US Air Force Major was found guilty of kidnapping his daughter and hiding her overseas in a bizarre custody case.

In 2014, Andrew Haley Morcomb took his then-5-year-old daughter around the world on the alleged grounds of sparing the child abuse by the hands of her mother.

However, federal prosecutors told a different side of the story, claiming there was no evidence of abuse by ex-wife Jane Lempera and adding that Morcombe simply wanted to hurt his ex.

“This is a case about a man who would do anything to do what he wanted,” Assistant US Attorney Stacie Harris told the jury. “This is a case about a military man who refuses to follow orders.”

The 51-year-old ex-Major previously worked at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa and regularly jetted around the globe.

Lempera spoke of her upbringing on Slovakia, moving to the US and marrying her ex-husband back in 2006. After their daughter was born, she said the relationship took a downturn.

“I gained a lot of weight, so my ex-husband wasn’t happy about that,” Lempera said.

Following a divorce and messy custody battle, they agreed to share custody in 60-day intervals. Eventually, however, Morcombe took his daughter overseas and refused to return her.

At one point, Morcombe took a job as a pilot in the United Arab Emirates, a Sharia law-heavy country that favors fathers in the legal system and does not recognize international treaties concerning child abduction.

“I knew he was not going to bring her back once he took her there,” Lempera said. “I was very worried… I was not going to let my daughter go to that country.”

As time passed, the nature of the situation became more convoluted, until the former Major eventually took the girl to Dubai, where she remained for two years.

However, in 2016, an international missing persons notice flagged the little girl while she was on a flight from Germany to London. Taken into custody, she was reunited with her mother.

Shortly after, Morcombe found himself on the receiving end of the law, facing charges that could land him serious prison time.

According to TBO, the jury took less than an hour to find the retired Major guilty.  He has been ordered to be confined to a Hillsborough County jail cell until his next hearing.

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