Sam Ali Tabaja

1 AP
Left: Sam, circa 1997;
Right: Age-progression to age 16 (circa 2010)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 10, 1997 from Ferndale, Michigan
  • Classification: Family Abduction
  • Date of Birth: April 27, 1994
  • Age: 2 years old
  • Height and Weight: 2'2, 40 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Sandy brown hair, blue eyes.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Sam was last seen in Ferndale, Michigan on January 10, 1997. His mother, Zohra Abbiss Tabaja, had custody of him and his father, Ali Ibrahim Tabaja, had weekend visitation rights. During the weekend of January 10, Ali took Sam for the weekend visitation and never returned him. Instead he and the child took a plane to Beiruit, Lebanon, where Ali renounced his United States citizenship.

    A photograph of Ali and his vital statistics are posted below this case summary. A warrant for international parental kidnapping was issued for his arrest on February 19, 1997. In June 2002, one of his relatives, Hassan Ibrahim Tabaja, was convicted of international parental kidnapping and aiding and abetting. Investigators say Hassan helped Ali abduct Sam; he helped him pack, drove him to the airport, and stalled Zohra until Ali and Sam had passed the point of no return.

    Zohra was allowed to visit Sam in Lebanon on one occasion after his abduction. She was allowed to see him for half an hour, during which time bodyguards were present. Afterwards she was told she would never be permitted to see him again. Ali and Sam are still in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with the U. S. If Ali ever returns to the U. S., he will probably be arrested.

    Sam's case is unsolved. His exact whereabouts are unknown.

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    Ali Ibrahim Tabaja
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    Above: Ali Ibrahim Tabaja

    Date of Birth: January 12, 1970
    Age: 26 years old
    Height and Weight: 6'1, 190 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Black hair, blue eyes. Ali has scars on his back.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Michigan Office

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    U. S. Department of Justice
    North American Missing Persons Network

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated March 10, 2011; age-progression updated.

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