A Florida mom is making a desperate plea for her son’s return after the boy’s father reportedly fled with him to another country in August, following a bitter custody battle.
Tampa Bay Times reports that Ali Salamey reportedly checked his 3-year-old son, Dexter, out of a Tampa daycare and flew him to Lebanon on August 24, which violated a court order that ruled him to have weekend visitations only. The child’s mother, Rachel Smith, is seeking help from the U.S. government, fearing she’ll never see her little boy again.
Smith’s lawyer, Patrick Leduc, indicated that Lebanon doesn’t extradite suspects back to the U.S., something that Salamey knew about and took advantage of.
“Lebanon is a co-conspirator in this kidnapping,” the attorney said during a media brief on Wednesday. “Nothing is going to happen unless our government stands up and asserts itself as a superpower that we are.”
Bay Area Mom alleges her child’s father kidnapped 3-year old Dexter Salomey and took him to Lebanon. Rachelle Smith speaks to the press with her attorney. pic.twitter.com/aznFBwj0oC
— DaveJordanBN9 (@DaveJordanBN9) August 29, 2018
Salamey apparently wrote an email to local Tampa station, WFLA, and put the blame on the court for failing to award him full custody. He claimed he only wants to protect his son.
“I am the father and all I want is to ensure my son’s safety. I am not hiding from anyone and have made myself available to anyone,” Salamey wrote, according to the station. “I have 3 years of evidence against her including VIDEO EVIDENCE of her admitting lying to police so she can get an advantage in court. I have [meticulous] documentation! [I] love my son more than anything in this world and I will do anything to protect him.”
Regardless of the claims, according to Leduc, Salamey still broke the law when he took the little boy out of the country. On August 23, Salamey reportedly obtained a passport for Dexter, then flew to Lebanon during one of his weekend visitations. Although a court order forbade him from getting the boy a passport, Salamey allegedly somehow convinced the Lebanese consulate in Detroit to issue one for his son.
Smith, desperate for her son’s return, sought out help from the U.S. State Department and Florida Senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, to plea with the Lebanese government to bring her son home.
“He turns 4 in a few days, and I fear I’m never going to see him again,” Smith said. “I’m begging God, going to the church in the middle of the night even when it’s raining and lightning in front of the church, just begging God to help me.”
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Rachelle Smith and Dexter/Family Handout]