A woman who spent nearly 20 years on the run - including a spell in New Zealand - after kidnapping her daughter has been released from jail.

Dorothy Lee Barnett took her baby daughter Savanna, changed their names, and fled South Carolina in 1994.

Samantha Geldenhuys (born Savanna Todd). Her mother Dorothy Lee Barnett kidnapped her in 1994 and went on the run, for a time living in New Zealand. Photo / Facebook
Samantha Geldenhuys (born Savanna Todd). Her mother Dorothy Lee Barnett kidnapped her in 1994 and went on the run, for a time living in New Zealand. Photo / Facebook

She was released on Friday, some eleven weeks after she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

She received credit for time served since November 5, 2013.

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Court documents showed Barnett would be subject to a supervised release term of two years.

Barnett was found guilty of "international parental kidnapping" and making a false statement in an application for a US passport.

After losing custody of her daughter and leaving the United States with Savanna in 1994, Barnett first went to South Africa where she married Juan Geldenhuys, before moving to New Zealand and becoming a citizen.

Barnett lived on the North Shore before moving to Australia in 2007.

Savanna turned 22 this month and was now known as Samantha Geldenhuys. She only learned about her identity and her mother's life on the run after Barnett was arrested in Queensland in late 2013.

Her father, stock broker Benjamin Harris Todd III, was granted sole custody of her when she was a baby.

A criminal docket filed in a South Carolina court alleged Barnett went by the aliases Alexandria Maria Canton, Alexandria Maria Geldenhuys, Lee Barnett Todd and Lee Barnett.

Posts on Facebook and comments Barnett's relatives made to US news outlet ABC4 confirmed she was now out of jail.

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According to an affidavit cited on ABC4, Barnett gained New Zealand citizenship in 2008.

A court judgement said Barnett was to have no contact with Mr Todd and was not allowed to own firearms or "any other dangerous weapon."