ROSEBURG — Brian Christine is scheduled to be released from prison next week after spending 12 years behind bars for kidnapping his three daughters from child-welfare workers, a case that brought national attention to the issue of parental rights.
Christine took the girls at gunpoint near Myrtle Creek in 2001. Christine, his wife, Ruth, and an accomplice were arrested days later in Montana.
While awaiting trial, Ruth Christine appeared on NBC’s “Today" show to assert that the state had overstepped its authority by taking custody of their children. The case also generated much interest from anti-government and parental-rights activists on the Internet and talk radio.
Originally from Indiana, the Christines had been traveling for a year in a converted school bus when they rolled into Grants Pass in the summer of 2000.
An anonymous caller told police that the three girls appeared to be starved and dehydrated. The state took the children into protective custody after concluding they were in poor health. In the ensuing months, the Christines fought with state officials and demanded their children back.
On Aug. 1, 2001, Brian Christine pointed a gun at two child-welfare workers taking the girls back to a Bandon foster home following a supervised visit with their parents. He ordered the workers out of the van and drove off with the girls to a nearby lumber mill.
Abandoning the van, the Christines and a friend drove to Montana, where they were arrested a few days later after Brian Christine was stopped for speeding. The children were found unharmed in Montana. Both parents were brought back to Oregon, along with accomplice Matthew Garawon, who was sentenced to six months in jail.
Brian Christine, now 40, was convicted in Douglas County Circuit Court of first-degree robbery, auto theft and custodial interference and sentenced to 121⁄2 years in prison. He is scheduled to be released March 14 from the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, the Roseburg News Review reported.
Ruth Christine spent eight years in prison before being released and deported back to her native England.