‘48 Hours’ to feature baby Savanna abduction from Isle of Palms

Savanna Todd

A former Isle of Palms woman and the daughter she abducted before fleeing overseas in 1994 and starting a new life will be the focus of a “48 Hours” episode on Saturday.

Set to air at 8 p.m., the CBS News program will include interviews with Dorothy Barnett, her daughter Savanna and an FBI agent Barnett eluded for nearly 20 years until her arrest two years ago in Australia.

Barnett’s marriage to Johns Island resident Harris Todd ended in a bitter divorce, which included dueling allegations of abuse. While Todd had custody of their infant daughter in 1994, Barnett was allowed court-monitored visits with Savanna.

After one visit, Barnett didn’t return the baby to Todd. Authorities later found her beachside home abandoned.

For nearly two decades, Barnett moved to several countries and had a son with a South African man she married. She changed her name to Alex Geldenhuys and her daughter’s to Samantha. A tip to authorities ended her run in September 2013, when she was arrested in Australia’s Queensland.

The CBS show joined NBC’s “Dateline” as the latest television newsmagazine to profile the case after Barnett served prison time for parental kidnapping and falsifying passports.

During her time on the lam, Barnett secretly kept a diary that would one day tell Savanna about their double life, she said during an interview with “48 Hours” correspondent Maureen Maher.

“I feel the FBI and every other law enforcement agency underestimated me,” Barnett said, according to a statement from CBS News.

FBI Agent Chris Quick feared during his work on the case that it would forever remain “one of those unsolved mysteries.”

The hour-long program will air Saturday night before the Democratic debate. It can be seen in the Charleston area on Comcast Channel 9 and 433 in high definition and Channel 5 for both DirecTV and Dish Network viewers.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

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