Alissa Zagaris said she won’t rest until she has her son, Leo, is back on American soil.
“I won’t stop,” said Zagaris.”He’s never given me anything more to fight for.”
Nikos, Alissa, and Leo lived in Noblesville until September of 2007. Zagaris said she split from her husband, Nikos, because of his abusive and controlling ways.
In 2008, he was even charged with domestic battery and strangulation. There’s still a warrant out for Nikos Zagaris in Hamilton County for interference with the custody of a child.
Alissa Zagaris said her ex-husband moved to Marathon, Greece to keep from being arrested. The couple was sharing custody rights to 10-year-old Leo until this past summer. That’s when Nikos Zagaris allegedly said he was keeping the child with him – permanently.
“I can’t fathom that idea,” said Alissa Zagaris. “How can I? I’m a mom, how can I give up on my child?”
Alissa Zagaris continues the fight to get her child back every way she knows how. She has a Facebook page, she’s working with local law enforcement, she has filed a Hague Convention and she is also teaming up with the FBI.
“I don’t see how he’s going to hide now,” said Zagaris. “He can’t just take a little 10-year-old American child and keep him because he feels like it.”
Frank Emmert specializes in international law at Indiana University School of Law. He said getting the child back to the U.S. is a fairly easy process, on paper anyway.
“What is crucial here is that the case is brought before a year is over,” said Emmert. “Basically, that the other parent does not want to recognize anymore the custodial rights of the co-parent. The case has to be brought to Indiana authorities.”
Alissa said her son’s smile and fond memories she had with him are what keep her going. She said she just keeps thinking about what it will be like when she sees her son again.
“It’s almost like seeing someone return from the dead,” Zagaris said. “I feel so cut off from him right now. It’s almost like he’s here, but he’s an ocean and two seas away.”
Alissa Zagaris said her ex-husband is trying to use little Leo as leverage. She said he told her he’d deliver the 10-year-old personally, if Alissa would do what she could to get the charges against him, in Hamilton County, dropped. That way he could return to the U.S.
Alissa refused and the battle continues.