Elie Abenhaim, 5 years old has been abducted by mother without legal custody to unknown location in France.
Father, Jacob Abenhaim has not seen or heard from his son in over 11 months to date.
It's a common and sad truth. Once a divorce is settled between two people, custody of a child becomes a very sensitive subject. But what happens, when one of the parents decides to flee the country without the others consent?
If this was the case of a father kidnapping his child, he would not get very far. But, because the mother is the maternal parent and is trusted as being the safe keeper, there is a huge double standard and misinterpretation when the situation is reversed.
According to le Barreau du Quebec “we cannot stop someone from leaving Canada even if they have signed court statement saying they cannot”.
Simply because, "custom officers do not control the people leaving the country, [their principal mandate] is to control the merchandise coming into the country, and the people coming in, not who is leaving."
The only thing the government can do is redflag the persons passport in case the child or parent ever comes back to Canada.
But what happens if they never come back?
This sad truth becomes the reality of many parents, and has been the nightmare Jacob has been forced to live with for over a year now.
On January 11 2015, Jacob landed at JFK Airport with his five year old son, Elie.
Jacob finally got his son back after being kidnapped for a year and three months.
After spending a couple days in New York, they were suppose to fly back home to Miami.
"Because of last minute changes, we decided to go visit my parents in Montreal before heading to Miami to spend the weekend with them."
That trip did not go as planned.
It was a cold morning on January 17 2015, when Jacob was stripped from his five year old son, Elie due to false allegations against him.
His ex wife, Vanessa Maffey-Levy knew they were heading to New York City, yet when she found out he was heading to Montreal, she made arrangements of her own by contacting the Canadian government through the French authorities.
It was 3 a.m on Friday January 17 when authorities surrounded the grandparents house in the borough of Cote St Luc.
The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), Sureté du Quebec and local police officers came rushing into his parents house in search for Elie.
They accused Jacob of kidnapping his child, and was practically held at gunpoint.
These false allegations were set up by Vanessa, who had contacted the Canadian Government from abroad.
Jacob had been set up. He was accused of "being a terrorist", "a convicted murderer", and a "danger to society".
Because of these unjustified labels condemned by Vanessa, they had permission to take his five year old son and placed him in a DYP (Department of Youth Protection) centre until they proceeded with their court case on the following Monday.
Elie Abenhaim was detained for seven days, in a painful detachment from his father, who had done nothing of the accused allegations proclaimed by his ex-wife.
They were appointed to fight the case in front of the honourable judge Pepita Capriolo on Monday January 19.
Jacob went to court with his team of lawyers on Monday morning - Vanessa is no where to be seen.
The case gets pushed back to Tuesday - she does not show up.
It gets pushed back to Wednesday - this time the judge says if she is not in court by Thursday, they will have to proceed without her.
Vanessa then decided to catch a flight out of Paris, and showed up for court on the following Thursday morning.
During this whole time, Elie is still being detained at a DYP Centre based on false pretences.
Before they release the child to one of the parents, the judge wants to go through the case so she gives child gets put in the custody of Vanessa' cousin.
The hearing went on for a week. Elie is then released to the guard of a cousin on Thursday January 19 2015.
Through a heart wrenching and stressful week of fighting the case, the judge arranged an agreement between both parties.
The settlement between Jacob and Vanessa clearly stated the child was to speak to the father every day, and get to see him until custody is settled.
The order was not met once.
Vanessa flew back to France with her son, Elie. Jacob has not seen or heard from Elie's whereabouts since February 3 2015.
“I haven't seen my child in over eleven months, and I won't stop until justice is served."
Jacob had something to fight for. It was bigger than him, bigger than Elie. He noticed that there was a loophole in the juridical system.
There's a prejudice when addressing the issue between a man and a woman and custody of their common child. He wanted to make sure that other fathers did not have to go through the pain he felt and still feels every day when fighting for the custody of Elie.
This launched the “Bring Elie Home” Project started in September 2015.
Bring Elie Home was founded for the kidnapping of Elie Abenhaim, who was abducted by his mother, Vanessa Maffey-Levy without the consent of his father, Jacob Abenhaim.
The foundation was built for fathers to get equal rights under the FBA (Father's Bureau of Abduction) who get unjustly treated in front of the law and in turn not have a say in the welfare of their underage children.
More updates on the case coming soon.
Join the movement to bring awareness for Elie.