Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday that Michelle Christine Gibbs was sentenced to one felony count of Penal Code section 278.5, Child Abduction.
Gibbs was placed on three years felony probation and ordered to serve 120 days, which she is allowed to serve on alternative sentencing.
Gibbs can have her conviction reduced to a misdemeanor after one year, if she has no probation violations and does not commit any new law violations.
The other count against Gibbs, misdemeanor violating a court order, was dismissed as part of the plea bargain.
On Feb. 26, 2015, following a custody hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, the children’s father was granted visitation rights; shortly thereafter, Michelle Christine Gibbs abducted her two daughters, ages six and four, and fled the area.
On Aug. 18, 2015, Michelle Christine Gibbs surrendered herself at the U.S. Consular Agency in San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), Baja California Sur, Mexico. Her children were with her.
All three appeared to be in good health and were returned to the United States on Aug. 21, 2015.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office were assisted in this investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals, California Department of Justice, U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Instituto Nacional De Migracion (Mexican Immigration), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, and various other law enforcement agencies that assisted with investigating leads.