Man who sent off Amber Alert after abducting child in Cortland sentenced

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A Florida man who sent off an Amber Alert after abducting his child and driving across state lines was sentenced Thursday to 9 months in Cortland County Jail.

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Shane R. Whitfield, Sr., had previously pleaded guilty to first-degree custodial interference, a class E felony.

On May 1, Whitfield went to Elmcrest Children Services on 4 Lincoln Avenue for a supervised visit with his 4-year-old biological child.

While there, police say Whitfield pushed the visitation supervisor aside, put the child in his pickup truck and drove off.

Several hours later, Whitfield was found with his child by Pennsylvania State Police on I-81 in Gibson, Pennsylvania, about 75 miles from Cortland.

His defense attorney, Steven Buitron, argued that the abduction was an "impulsive act" driven by a desire to be reunited with his son.

Judge Julie Campbell said she was not convinced by Buitron's argument and suspected that it was a premeditated decision.

Whitfield's son has been in the custody of the Cortland County Department of Social Services for more than one year, according to Campbell, and remains in foster care. The child's mother has been accused of neglect, Campbell said.

Buitron has filed a notice of intent to appeal the sentencing.


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