Boys Allegedly Kidnapped by Fathers In LA Found in the Netherlands


THE HAGUE (CNN) — Three children allegedly abducted from Southern California by their fathers, who are two brothers, were recovered in the Netherlands and the men arrested on Friday, the FBI said. Their mothers flew to the Netherlands to be reunited with their sons.

Brothers John and George Silah were sought for abducting their three sons in July 2008 from their homes in Los Angeles, according to the FBI. John Silah allegedly kidnapped his son, Greg, now 12, and George Silah is accused of kidnapping his sons Alexander, now 14, and Zaven, 11.

State arrest warrants were issued for the Silahs on July 31, 2008, and federal arrest warrants were issued the following month, authorities said.

“After following domestic and international leads in this investigation, agents with the FBI and detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department directed their focus overseas,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

After the investigation led to Athens, Greece, Greek police conducted “an exhaustive investigation” that led them to the Netherlands, the FBI said. “The investigative efforts of law enforcement in Greece and the Netherlands resulted in the identification of the Silah brothers and the victim children.”

Authorities in Los Angeles obtained a provisional arrest warrant allowing authorities in the Netherlands to arrest the brothers and recover the children Tuesday, the FBI said.

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The children were being held by Dutch protective services, and FBI agents will travel with the children’s mothers to the Netherlands, the statement said. The Silah brothers were in Dutch police custody.

The mothers of the three boys had issued tearful public pleas for the return of their sons, believing the men may have fled for their native Syria.

“Alex, Zaven, I miss you guys so much,” mother Zanni Kalayejian said in August 2008 at a press conference, according to CNN affiliate KABC. Greg’s mother, Christine Stackhouse, promised at the same press conference, “I’m going to come and find you. I’m going to bring you back home.”

Greg’s grandmother, Araxie Jeambart, told KABC after the children were recovered that she wants to see her grandson with her own eyes. “We have spent so much money, so much time, so much crying, so much suffering,” she said.

The FBI credited the following institutions and organization for help in capturing the suspects: The Hellenic National Police, Attica HQ, Athens, Greece & Juvenile Crimes Unit; The Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD); Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office; The Los Angeles Police Department; The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles; The United States Department of State; The District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles County; Agents with the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; FBI’s Legal Attaché in Athens, Greece; FBI’s Legal Attaché Sub-Office in The Hague, Netherlands; Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs; The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; The Association for the Recovery of Children and Find the Children of Santa Monica.

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