An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for the ex-wife and in-laws of a Pompano Beach man after his 3-year-old daughter was kidnapped one year ago this week and taken to Abu Dhabi.
Christopher Dahm says federal investigators have documented that his ex-wife Leslie Delbecq and her parents flew little Gabby on August 2, 2010, from South Florida to United Arab Emirates where Delbecq's father is chief training pilot for Etihad, the national airline.
His ex-wife and in-laws are from the Belgian Congo, speak French and are not Muslim or citizens of UAE.
“We are moving in the right direction to bring my little girl home,” he said at his Pompano home Wednesday. “Getting one step closer to bringing Gabby home.” Dahm was previously granted full custody rights by a South Florida judge.
The Interpol arrest warrant prevents Delbecq and her parents from traveling internationally. And Dahm’s legal team will now ramp up diplomatic efforts to arrest the family and get back his daughter.
The federal indictment from a South Florida grand jury is unprecedented in that it also names her parents Jeanine De Riddere Delbecq and Philippe Delbecq. Dahm says his father-in-law may’ve actually flown the UAE airliner during the alleged kidnapping, further implicating him legally.
Every day since then, Dahm says, it's been a nightmare.
"I think about her all day, every day,” he says. “There's been a lot of tears."
How were his emotions yesterday on the one-year anniversary of her kidnapping? "Very difficult. I've been reflecting a lot. 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?'” he says. “That scares me."
Does it also scare him that she may’ve forgotten him?
"I know that we just started making a bond and our bond is unbreakable."
Dahm keeps his daughters room just as it was when she was abducted.
"This is a serious crime. This is an act of child abuse,” says his lawyer, Douglas Reynolds, of Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale. “And when one parent denies the other parent of a child in this method and takes that child 8,000 miles away, that child has lost a parent.”
The indictment came in June and led to the issuance this week of the Interpol alert. “It also says that those that support those who abduct children - in this case, the grandparents - are going to also be held accountable.”
Dahm is now learning French because it may be the only language his daughter knows. And he wants to be prepared for the day she comes home. It's the primary language spoken by his ex-wife and her parents.
He says his ex-wife’s family is wealthy and is spending enormous sums on lawyers in UAE and Florida-based lawyers.
“I want them to know that Gabby needs her daddy,” Dahm said of his in-laws.
Dahm says his legal bills are mountainous. “I really need the support of the whole community because this is so much more than I can handle alone.”
He's holding a golf tournament Saturday, August 6, 2011, 7:30am at the Palm Aire Country Club. Find details at www.helpsavegabby.com