POMPANO BEACH (CBS4) – A South Florida father is working with the state department and FBI to retrieve his toddler daughter who was taken to the Middle East without his knowledge.
Christopher Dahm, 34, hasn’t seen his two year old daughter Gabrielle since last August.
“She means everything to me. She’s my life. My biggest goal was to be the best dad in the world and I am,” said Dahm told CBS4’s Joan Murray from his Pompano Beach home.
Dahm says the last time he saw Gabrielle he sensed something was wrong.
“She wouldn’t let go of me,” said Dahm. “She could sense something was about to happen but she couldn’t talk yet.”
Dahm says his divorce from his wife Leslie Delbecq became final in January 2010. The couple was given equal custody rights. A condition of the custody agreement was that Gabrielle was not to be taken out of the country.
Then Dahm learned that Delbecq had bought three one way tickets to Abu Dhabi. Delbecq has dual U.S. and Belgian citizenship and she was able to obtain a passport for her daughter by claiming to be a single mother.
Last September a Broward Circuit court judge granted Dahm full custody after his ex-wife failed to return Gabby from Abu Dhabi voluntarily.
“My heart is empty. She’s a part of me. We were beginning to bond when they took her.
It’s so devastating. I know she misses me and needs her daddy,” says Dahm.
Dahm is using the same attorney who helped return nine year old Sean Goldman to his father in New Jersey.
He is also working with Ft. Lauderdale attorney Douglas Reynolds. Reynolds says they have a meeting scheduled with the U.S. attorney’s office and are hoping the government will indict Dahm’s ex-wife on kidnapping charges.
“We believe if the U.S. Attorney’s Office pursues this, it will assist us greatly in the return of the child,” said Reynolds.
Still, he says, it will be a lengthy fight.
Reynolds added, “You measure these cases in years, not months and that’s the real tragedy of this situation.”
Dahm is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring his daughter home. “I’m never gonna give up. I know they won’t either. it will be difficult but she’s daddy’s little girl.”
Dahm has also set up a website for his daughter at www.helpsavegabby.com.
He has had postcards made up with Gabby’s picture that he passes out at shopping malls, describing his plight.
Dahm is asking for the support of the community as he pursues the difficult international legal and investigative work to find Gabby and bring her home.