The FBI has arrested a man and accused him of helping a Virginia woman involved in a custody dispute with her former partner leave the United States and move to Nicaragua.

Timothy D. Miller helped Lisa Miller and 9-year-old daughter Isabella avoid a custody order by traveling to Central America in September 2009, the FBI said.

“I know very little at this point, but I really hope that this means that Isabella is safe and well,” said Miller’s former partner, Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven. “I am looking forward to having my daughter home safe with me very soon,” she said in a statement released by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which has provided legal help to Jenkins.

Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. Isabella was born to Miller in 2002, and the couple broke up in 2003. Miller moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

She was granted custody of Isabella, but Jenkins got visitation rights.

Courts in Vermont and Virginia have since ruled in favor of Jenkins on the custody issue, most recently in November 2009, when Rutland Family Court Judge William Cohen — frustrated by Miller’s refusal to obey court orders — ordered her to surrender custody to Jenkins.

Miller, of Forest, Va., and the girl failed to appear for a court-ordered custody swap Jan. 1, 2010, in which Jenkins was to get the girl.

Since then, Jenkins’s attorney has said the two are believed to have moved to El Salvador. Last year, an arrest warrant was issued for Miller, but it was sealed.

Jenkins’s attorney, Sarah Star, called the arrest the biggest development in the case so far.

Investigators said they don’t know whether Timothy and Lisa Miller are related.