L.A. couple, cleared in daughter’s death, leave Qatar

Escorted by U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith, left, Grace and Matthew Huang walk to their departure gate at Hamad International Airport in Doha on Wednesday.
(Osama Faisal / Associated Press)

A Los Angeles couple left Qatar on Wednesday after a nearly two-year legal saga that followed the death of their 8-year-old daughter.

The Qatar government had given Matthew and Grace Huang permission to leave for home on Tuesday, a decision that came two days after an appeals court in the country cleared them of charges in connection with their daughter’s death.

“Matt and Grace Huang are wheels up from Qatar. Emotional. These are the moments all diplomats live for. #proud to serve,” wrote U.S. envoy Dana Shell Smith on Twitter.


The couple’s ordeal began with the January 2013 death of their adopted daughter, Gloria, who was born in Ghana. The Huangs’ lawyers said the child suffered from an eating disorder stemming from her impoverished upbringing, but Qatari prosecutors suggested that the parents might have been engaged in human trafficking or wanted to sell the child’s organs, and alleged she had been deliberately starved.

The Huangs strongly maintained their innocence throughout the investigation.

The case had received high-level attention from the Obama administration. After the court ruling, Secretary of State John F. Kerry had urged that the couple’s departure be expedited, and the State Department had earlier expressed hopes for a speedy resolution.

This post will be updated.