Pompano Beach dad has been embroiled in international custody battle since baby was taken overseas in August of 2010.
A mom accused of abducting her toddler from Pompano Beach and fleeing to the United Arab Emirates was detained with her parents as they attempted to leave that country Friday, said the girl’s father.
“The FBI told me to be on standby for the next flight out,” said Christopher Dahm, “but they also told me not get my hopes up.”
Dahm has been working to get his now two-year-old daughter Gabby back since August 2010, when his his ex-wife Leslie Delbecq failed to drop their daughter off at his house as per a joint custody arraingement.
Federal investigators shortly discovered three one-way plane tickets for Delbecq, her mother, and Gabby Dahm to Abu Dhabi, where Delbecq’s father works as chief training pilot for national airline Etihad.
After a federal indictment took the unprecedented step of including Delbecq’s parents in charges of international parental kidnapping, Interpol issued an arrest warrant this month for all three Delbecqs that prevented them from international travel.
The family were detained and arrested at the Abu Dhabi airport as they attempted to leave the Emirates, Dahm was told by state department officials.
However, the UAE does not have an extradition agreement with the United States, and for now the Delbecqs remain out on bond and in custody of Gabby.
“The FBI…confirmed that they were arrested and quickly bonded out,” Dahm said. “The [U.S.] government has been seeking extradition, but it’s really in the hands of the Abu Dhabi judge, and we don’t know when he’ll make that determination.
“I do think that what happened this weekend is going to help me get my daughter back faster…I’m just taking it on a day-by-day basis.”
Earlier this month, the desperate father described his emotional state on the one-year anniversary of Gabby’s abduction.
“I’ve been reflecting a lot,” he said. “I think about ‘what does she look like? How tall is she? What does she like to do? What does she like to eat? Are they taking care of her?’ That scares me.”
This article was written by Janie Campbell and published by NBC Miami on August 28, 2011.
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