FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Two arrests have been made for an alleged scheme that took a teen against his will and transported him to Missouri, according to the Department of Justice.
Officials unsealed a federal indictment on Tuesday charging 35-year-old Shana Gaviola, formally of Clovis, and 41-year-old Julio Sandoval, of Piedmont Missouri, with violating a protective order that had been issued at the request of Gaviola’s son in July of 2021. Sandoval was formally the dean of students at a boarding school in Missouri as well as the founder of an agency that transported minors to the boarding school.
According to the court documents, Gaviola’s son started living with another family back in 2020. He petitioned for emancipation from Gaviola and obtained a domestic violence protection order against Gaviola from the Fresno County Superior Court. Despite the protection order, Gaviola and Sandoval allegedly made plans for Gaviola’s son to forcibly be transported from California to Missouri.
Officials say that individuals allegedly acting on behalf of Gaviola and Sandoval found the minor at a business in Fresno. They handcuffed him and forced him into a car. He remained handcuffed for over 24 hours while they drove to Stockton, Missouri. He was then held at the boarding school until his father was able to free him.
If convicted, each defendant could face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. This case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fresno Police Department, and the Clovis Police Department.