Abducted Grandchildren Behind Gary Miller's Decision to Leave Congress

Image: Abducted Grandchildren Behind Gary Miller's Decision to Leave Congress Rep. Gary Miller and Jennifer Lopez Dejongh

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 07:42 AM

By Elliot Jager

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California Republican Rep. Gary Miller, 65, is retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives so that he and his wife can raise their three grandchildren, USA Today reported.

Miller said he could not properly raise the children and also be an effective congressman.

"I didn't have much of an alternative. It's too easy to be selfish in life and say 'I could do it regardless.' But it's not the right way to do it. If I can't give my all, then it's not a genuine effort on my part," he said according to The Press-Enterprise.

In Aug. 2011, The Whittier Daily News reported that Miller's grandchildren had been found with their mother, Jennifer Lopez Dejongh, 34, outside Tijuana, Mexico by a combined U.S. and Mexican law enforcement team.

At the time, the children, Brian, who was then 12, and twins Evan and Christian, then 10, had been missing with their mother for nearly three-and-a-half years. In the interim, Lopez Dejongh and her new husband — who had gone missing with her in November 2007 — had a daughter.

The congressman had been awarded joint custody of the children with Lopez DeJongh. She was supposed to have brought the children over to the grandparents when she vanished.

Several months after Dejongh absconded with the children she sent a 16-page handwritten letter to Whittier Daily News, postmarked New Hampshire, stating that the children were safe and that she was protecting them from their abusive father.

The DeJonghs moved to central Mexico where the mother changed her name, found work, and enrolled the boys in school. Authorities found them in August 2011 when the family moved closer to the U.S. border after Lopez DeJonghs became pregnant with the couple's daughter.

The Pasadena Star-News reported in 2012 that the children's father Brian Miller was convicted in 2000 of misdemeanor child abuse and endangerment as well as spousal abuse. In 2006, prosecutors permitted him to change his plea to not guilty, then dismissed the case after he completed probation, a parenting class, and 224 hours of community service.

The mother and her husband were sentenced to probation for fleeing with the children. Their appeal is winding its way through the courts, according to the  DiamondBar-Walnut Patch.

On Wednesday Miller was one of 28 GOP House members to vote to increase the nation's debt limit. Miller plans to serve out the remainder of his term "with the same energy and enthusiasm that I have always brought to the debate," USA Today reported.


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