Clovis Police Department assists FBI in investigation

Clovis Police Department police cruiser (Photo courtesy of Clovis Police Department).

Working with federal, state and local law enforcement, the Clovis Police Department helped the FBI arrest a parent and one time dean of a boarding school for troubled youth.  The charges stemmed from a scheme that took a teen against his will and transported him from California to Missouri.

In a press release announcing the arrest on Wednesday August 31, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert shared the information on the collaboration between departments on the investigation.

“This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fresno Police Department, and the Clovis Police Department,” the release read.

In the release, it said a federal indictment was unsealed Tuesday charging Shana Gaviola, 35, formerly of Clovis, and Julio Sandoval, 41, of Piedmont, Missouri, with violating a protective order that had been issued at the request of Gaviola’s son in July of 2021.

Sandoval was formerly the dean of students at a boarding school in Missouri and was also the founder of an agency that transported minors to boarding school.

According to court documents, in 2020 Gaviola’s son began living apart from Gaviola with another family member and petitioned for emancipation from Gaviola and obtained a domestic violence protection order against Gaviola from the Fresno County Superior Court. The order prohibited Gaviola from harassing, striking, following, and contacting her son among other things.

Despite the protection order, Gaviola and Sandoval made plans for Gaviola’s son to be forcibly transported from California to Missouri and on Aug. 21, 2021 authorities said “individuals acting on behalf of Gaviola and Sandval found the minor at a business in Fresno, handcuffed him and forced him into a car,” where he remained handcuffed for over 24 hours while they drove to Stockton, Missouri where he was held at the boarding school until his father was able to free him.

If convicted, each defendant could face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Adam Ricardo Solis has written for The Collegian as a staff reporter covering a variety of topics and transferred from Fresno City College to Fresno State where he majored in agriculture business. He is excited to incorporate what he has learned about the agriculture industry in the Central Valley into future articles while also covering a variety of other community matters.