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Snatchback
September 3, 2006 8:16 PM   Subscribe

In 1992, Maureen Dabbagh's ex-husband kidnapped their daughter and fled to Syria. Now Maureen was about to step into a universe she had no idea existed: the covert world of the "snatchback industry." She would go on to become a snatchback agent herself, to help other "left behinds."

Also, How to kidnap your children and get away with it.
posted by Terminal Verbosity (18 comments total)

 
After reading much of Dr. Keene's website, I've come to the conclusion that yeah, he's probably legally in the right, but that I really doubt that his ex-wife is more fucked up than he is. He comes across as pretty much batshitinsane.

Today, his kids are 18 and 21 years old. They know that their dad is alive and how to get hold of him and have had ample opportunity to do so without interference from their mother or their mother's siblings. They have not done so. After reading his website, I get the feeling that there are honest reasons why this is so.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:36 PM on September 3, 2006


Also, How to kidnap your children and get away with it.

There's some deep crazy in that web site. Now, it might be crazy that was come by completely honestly. It might be well-earned crazy. But it's crazy nonetheless.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:45 PM on September 3, 2006


I was really disappointed that Maureen doesn't get Nadia back in her story. I mean, yeah, the way it ends is the most realistic outcome... but somehow I was expecting after four long pages to have the Hollywood ending of mother and daughter reunited. It's sad.
posted by web-goddess at 8:54 PM on September 3, 2006


This happened to an ex-slash-now good friend of mine -- his father kidnapped him and his sister and took them to Syria. His mother tried to get them back (ala snatchback-type efforts) and failed. Later, when they reached high school-age, the father voluntarily sent them to the States to get a "Western Education." Now the "children" (they are both over 30) are far closer to their mother, and (while in touch with him) view their father as batsinsane. A "better" ending, I guess, but not such a good one ...
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:22 PM on September 3, 2006


I have an aquaintance that had her child kidnapped to saudi arabia by her ex. She and her new husband went big into the snatchback idea and started a nonprofit fund to pay for a professional extraction. The kid apparently suffered horrible abuse in Saudi Arabia. Years went by, he turned 18 and apparently decided to stay in Saudi Arabia. The parents took the money from the fund and remodelled their kitchen.
posted by Osmanthus at 9:45 PM on September 3, 2006


What is it with Syria and child abductions?
posted by hattifattener at 10:58 PM on September 3, 2006


What is it with Syria and child abductions?
posted by hattifattener at 10:58 PM PST


Its because they are *spooky voice* TERRORISTS *end spooky voice*.

Or perhaps they just get more press, as the taking of 'western' kids to some other country is scary?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:06 PM on September 3, 2006


What is it with Syria and child abductions?

I think they have no extradition agreement with the US.
posted by pieoverdone at 5:45 AM on September 4, 2006


Very topical.
posted by ninebelow at 6:13 AM on September 4, 2006


Moral : Avoid raising kids with crazy people.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:28 AM on September 4, 2006


pieoverdone writes "I think they have no extradition agreement with the US."

Ditto with Japan. They never signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, so even if a kid is born and raised in another country and speaks no Japanese, if he is the child of a Japanese person (and therefore automatically a citizen), and that person takes the child to Japan, there's no way for the other parent to get the child back, because Japan won't extradite.
posted by Bugbread at 7:34 AM on September 4, 2006


Free Elian.
posted by rbs at 7:46 AM on September 4, 2006


I have a friend who is worried about this with her sons father and India. She'd like to cut off all access to the child, but California grants visitation rights (justifiably in the case of those who pay support) to the father even if the parents were never married, and the father hasn't paid support. I advised her to squeeze him for support, but she's worried that will provoke the idea of abduction, or less gravely, pursuing equal custody.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:11 AM on September 4, 2006


You'll never call these men crazy if you see how plain-vanilla Americans act in child custody contests. Everyone in these cases takes every advantage available to them. Parents move from California to New York to mess with their ex every day of the week; if they could easily move to Syria there'd be a thriving ex-pat divorce(e) community there, too.
posted by MattD at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2006


Preventing family abductions.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2006


Dr. Keene's tale is sad. And strange. He seems bats, but not completely off the charts bats. In his account, he seemed to acknowledge his ex's strengths, when she was honest, etc., which is better than most of these sites. But who knows what really happened -- now that the kids are over 18 it's up to them.

The kids seem to be using the same names (as the dad acknowledges in an update), as is his ex, and all are seemingly living in New Jersey, so it is weird to me that he was/is unable to contact them. I also wonder if he needed better lawyers -- it doesn't surprise me that law enforcement didn't care, but if the children were in the US, I think a good lawyer with a good PI would have found them.

It is interesting/sad in these cases to see the way that each side uses the medical/psychiatric conditions of the other side side to gain position. Sometimes the conditions are relevant to raising children; sometimes they are not and/or are exaggerated.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2006


Abducting Your Children, as penned by Humbert Humbert.
posted by ScotchLynx at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2006


The parents took the money from the fund and remodelled their kitchen.

Heh. I love humans.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:19 PM on September 4, 2006


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