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Last updated November 24.

Dec. 4, 2006 issue

Tags: News

Man gets probation for kidnapping daughters

Mennonite Weekly Review staff

PEORIA, Ill. — A man whose disappearance with his daughters to a Central American Mennonite colony was documented by the Dr. Phil talk show was sentenced to 30 months of probation Nov. 14.

On Oct. 13, a Ford County jury found Michael Hari, 35, of Paxton, a convert to the Old German Baptist Brethren, guilty of abducting his teenage daughters, Mollie, 15, and Allene, 13, and taking them to Mexico and then Belize in search of what Hari believed was a better spiritual atmosphere for his children to grow up in.

Hari — a former Ford County sheriff’s deputy and sheriff candidate — shared custody of the girls with his ex-wife, Michelle Frakes, who does not share his spiritual and lifestyle convictions.

Hari’s flight from Illinois eventually took him to Pine Hill Colony, a 240-member Old Order Mennonite settlement in a jungle in Belize.

Hari was tracked down in Belize after his case came to the attention of clinical psychologist and television host Phil McGraw.

The search for Hari and his discovery in Central America were featured on three episodes of McGraw’s popular Dr. Phil talk show earlier this year.

Hari could have received three years in jail for abducting the girls.


  • He should have been inprisioned. He still believes to this day he did nothing wrong and he has showed no remorse. This whole thing wasn't about religion it was about control. After a bitter divorce it was about denying the mother her kids not about religious differences. He should have served time, period.

    - lisa (mar 9 at 3:02 a.m.)

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