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FARMINGTON, Mo. (AP) - When Dow Boyer was caught skimming money from her employer, the crime led to a chain of events that has left the wife and mother battling to stay in the country.

LINK: Petition to Gov. Nixon

The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Missouri, reports that Boyer was general manager of CiCi's Pizza in Farmington, Missouri. She was convicted in December of stealing from the restaurant, sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to repay nearly $51,000.

LINK: WhiteHouse.gov petition

After the arrest, it was learned that she was in the country illegally - she didn't know it because she arrived in the U.S. from Thailand at a young age after her mother married a military man.

LINK: Free Dow Boyer Facebook page

Now, Boyer is jailed, awaiting deportation. An online petition seeks to keep her in the U.S.

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Boyer is a mother of four, two of her sons are enlisted in the military and her youngest is a 5 year old little girl, spitting image of her mother.

Boyer is about to be kicked out of the United States.

"I've never loved anybody like I've loved her and she's the mother of my only child, she means everything," says husband Justin Boyer.

45 year old Boyer is behind bars after being convicted with felony stealing, taking thousands from her employers at Cici's pizza in Farmington.

Justin was injured at work and had to have 12 surgeries, making finances tight.

"We had the electric shut off, we lost our house, it wasn't like she was stealing money to go shopping or to buy cars or nothing," he says.

Dow was born in Thailand, brought to America with a green card by her US military step-father and mother, but she never applied for citizenship and didn't know until she got in trouble that she wasn't a citizen.

"The lawyer came out and said that Dow is not a legal citizen, and if we continued, she would be deported, and we immediately said, my husband and I both said, there's no way, Dow can't leave her children," says former employer Debbie Peterson.

Peterson is now trying to stop the deportation and says Dow started paying back the more than $50,000, before she was thrown in jail.

"We would drop everything, we would act like it never happened if they would not deport Dow," says Peterson.

Justin doesn't know when Dow will be deported, but he and their daughter may be moving be moving across the world.

"For my family to be together, whatever it takes," he says.

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Information from: Daily Journal, http://dailyjournalonline.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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