Aug. 11, 2010 -- A Florida dad is hoping the State Department and the FBI can help retrieve his toddler daughter who he claims was kidnapped by his wife and taken to the Middle East, despite the fact that child doesn't have a passport.
"Im not doing too good right now," Chris Dahm, 33, told ABC News. " I am stressed out and upset. I want my daughter back and know she is safe."
Dahm said his 19-month-old daughter Gabrielle disappeared last Wednesday after his ex-wife, Leslie Delbecq, failed to drop her off at his house for their scheduled visit.
Dahm and Delbecq went through a bitter divorce, which was finalized in June, and granted the parents joint custody of Gabrielle. Dahm says that a condition under the custody agreement was that Gabrielle not be taken out of the country.
But Dahm claims that by Thursday he had learned that Delbecq had purchased three one way tickets to Abu Dhabi, by way of Brussels where Delbecq has duel citizenship. The tickets were in the names of his ex-wife, her mother and Gabrielle, he claims.
"I've been working closely with authorities since Friday, and we are not sure how Gabby could have gotten out of the country without a passport," said Dahm.
Dahm said that in 2005 his wife's family moved to Abu Dhabi because Delbecq's father got a job as a captain with Etihad Airways.
Despite repeated calls by ABC News, Etihad could not be reached for comment.
"I just met with the FBI for over two hours and have been in talks with the Department of State since Friday," said Dahm. "Everyone wants to handle this diplomatically and hopes that Leslie will bring Gabby back on her own. That's the important thing. . . to get Gabby back."
"Right now, we have her listed as a missing person," Sgt. Frank Sousa from the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department told ABC News. " We are working with the FBI and with Interpol to determine how to proceed from here."
Calls by ABC News to the FBI and the Department of State were not returned. Delbercq also could not be reached.
Dahm's struggle is not uncommon. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2009 there were 1,621 cases involving children being removed by a parent from the United States and taken to another country. Out of those cases, only 436 children were returned.
Dahm vows that he will go to Abu Dhabi and find his little girl if he has to.
"I need to get Gabby back...no matter what," said Dahm.