​For release on July 28, 2015  CONTACT:
James S. Cahan, Deputy District Attorney
Child Abduction Unit
(408) 792-2722   ARIZONA WOMAN CHARGED WITH 1990 ABDUCTION OF DAUGHTER   A retired college professor was arrested today in Phoenix, AZ, and charged with the abduction of her daughter 25 years ago.
In the midst of a divorce, Valerie Berry left Santa Clara County in 1990 and disappeared with the toddler, violating the court ordered visitation rights of the father.
For years, Berry evaded authorities by leaving the state, changing both of their names and social security numbers. She was arrested in Phoenix on a $250,000 warrant going by the alias of Aleks Kelsi Webster.
Berry, 56, of Phoenix, if convicted could receive a sentence ranging from probation and community service to 3 years in prison.
“Taking a child is wrong,” prosecutor James S. Cahan said. “The father’s loss, so sudden and then for so long, spurred this Office to continue this 25-year search to its end.”
Berry had abducted her daughter before, vanishing from her husband for three months in 1987, after which the couple reconciled. In late 1988, the couple began a divorce proceeding. During the proceeding, Berry made an allegation of child molestation against the father to Child Protective Services. She did not call police. An investigation into her allegations determined that they were unsubstantiated.
In March of 1990, mother and daughter disappeared again.
Using prior identities, social media and records, DA investigators this year tracked the defendant to Phoenix, where she had worked as a professor.
The daughter was also found in a different part of the country. She is not being identified because she is a victim in this case.   # # #

©2022 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.