Jeffery Shipman's family says every story has two sides. Friday night, they told us Jeffery's side, who is now facing federal kidnapping charges.
Five years ago, he disappeared with his daughter Deonna from Liverpool. In the middle of a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife Luba, the FBI says Shipman fled the country and took her around the world to Thailand. At the end of February, Shipman's family claims he turned himself in to authorities though that hasn't been confirmed to us by the FBI.
Shipman's brother Michael says he thinks he was acting with the best intentions. "He is a good person. And I hope people can try to understand out of the goodness in his heart, he did what he felt he had to do. He would do anything to protect her," said Michael Shipman.
Now, Shipman is in federal custody on kidnapping charges. Deonna is back in Central New York waiting to reunite with her mother, who now lives in Russia.
The last 5 years have been difficult for both sides of this story. Shipman cut off contact with his family, leaving them in the dark on where he and Deonna were, and whether they were okay.
"Obviously, it's upsetting," said Shipman's sister Cynthia Bennett. "It takes a big toll on everyone, you don't know if they are okay. It's not just him, it's her (Deonna) she is our family too. A big part of it."
Shortly after Shipman was taken into custody, the family received some pictures, cards and home video. A small glimpse at what life was like for the last few years. Perhaps the most startling for the family, how much Deonna has grown. She is now 8. "I just want to tell her that we love her tremendously and I want to give her the biggest hug," said Bennett.
Now, the family is hoping to make up for lost time. They have been trying to work out a visit with Deonna and say they will look into getting custody of her. But right now, it looks like Deonna will go back with her mother Luba who is the custodial parent.
Wednesday, we spoke with some of Luba's friends who still live here in Central New York who told us they were thrilled with the news at Deonna was safe, and could go back with her Mother.
Shipman will soon return to Onondaga County to appear in court.