A Tampa, Florida, woman is pleading with the father to bring back her 3-year-old son. Rachelle Smith’s son, Dexter, was taken to Beirut, Lebanon, without her permission by his father.
Ali Salamey picked up the child from daycare and went to the embassy where he obtained passports for himself and Dexter. Then they flew to Lebanon on Aug. 24 with no word of their return, violating a court order that granted him weekend visitation rights only.
On Friday, Smith discussed her heartbreak with Doc Thompson and Kris Cruz on “The Morning Blaze with Doc Thompson.”
Smith has leveraged social media to campaign for her son’s return using the hashtag “#BringDexterHome.” She has also lobbied the U.S. government for help.
Smith said she was afraid the father of her child would do something like this someday and that her worst nightmare has now come true.
“On August 1, he had broken into my home while I was at work and the babysitter was with my son and then he was arrested with burglary of a dwelling and child interference,” Smith said.
“At the time, the next day I went to the court and I filed an injunction for protection for domestic violence for myself and my son. It was immediately denied saying that there was no indicator that I would be a victim of domestic violence,” Smith continued.
“And in that injunction, I stated again how I feared that he would be kidnapping him and taking him out of the country.”
Smith said after waiting a few weeks for a subsequent hearing, she was required to allow Salamey visitation every other weekend until the next court date.
Smith said that within 24 hours of Salamey exercising his right to see his son, he had sold all his belongings and picked up the child from preschool at noon and fled the country.
“My son was supposed to be back to school on Monday [Aug. 27],” Smith said.
She said contacted the school and Dexter had not shown up. By noon, she contacted authorities. Smith said Salamey had a lengthy history of keeping her son from her.
Patrick Leduc, Smith’s lawyer, said that if Lebanon does not extradite the child, “Lebanon is a co-conspirator” in the “kidnapping” during a news conference on Aug. 29.
“Nothing is going to happen unless our government stands up and asserts itself as a superpower that we are,” said Leduc.
Catch Smith’s heart-wrenching interview on Friday in the clip above.