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N.C. Father in Franklin Co. Court After Alleged Abduction of Daughter

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines) -- A Franklin County judge has ordered a father to stay away from his daughter after he drove from North Carolina to central Ohio to remove the girl from her home.

Nicholas Barnhart appeared in court on Tuesday morning, one day after his arrest for the alleged abduction of his 5-year-old daughter, Ella, from her mother's Gahanna apartment.

The girl's mother moved to Ohio from North Carolina with her two daughters in 2013. She has said the move was the result of Barnhart's abuse of Ella.

Barnhart's lawyer denies that his client harmed his daughter, and claims Ella's mother acted recklessly when she moved to Ohio without first informing Barnhart.

"That's why she thought it was appropriate to take her child here without his knowledge, because it suited her," attorney Sam Shamansky said. "She doesn't care for my client's feelings, her child's feelings -- she cares only about herself. That's why she behaved as she did."

Shamansky says Barnhart has never been the subject of any children's services investigations or police reports involving child abuse. He claims his client learned of his daughter's current location through Facebook.

Authorities arrested Barnhart in Hocking County after stopping his vehicle on US-33. Ella was inside the car and unhurt when her father was arrested. 

Barnhart remains in police custody, and has been ordered to avoid contact with his daughter in the event of his release.
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