Bring Back My Child: Zanni and Christine

A Desperate Search

Christine recounts the last day she saw her 10-year-old son, Greg. "The way Greg was acting, I knew there was something not right. I think in his gut feeling he knew he wasn't going to see me again. He picked up my picture. He put it in his backpack, and he said, ‘This is for me. In case I really miss you, I'll look at it and I'll remember you.' Then he went back inside and grabbed a cross that I had bought him. He put it around his neck and he said, ‘This is so when I'm afraid, I'll hold on to it tight and I'll feel secure and I'll remember you,' and then he said, ‘Now, I'm ready,'" Christine says. Wiping away tears, she continues, "His father came, and he went outside. He came back for another hug. He came back for another hug. He said, ‘I'm going to miss you, Mommy, so much.' I said, ‘You have fun. I'm going to miss you, too. I'll call you every day, Honey. Just go have fun.'" She has not seen her son since this day, over three months ago.

 

Zanni was married to Christine's ex-husband's brother, George. Her sons, Alex, 12, and Zaven, 8, went missing at the same time as Greg. "There were a whole bunch of red flags that I should have recognized," Zanni acknowledges. "George sent me a text message saying, ‘You'll have to let the school know Alex won't be attending camp this summer.' He kept asking me for their passports, consistently. That was suspicious. He never bought clothes for the children before, and all of a sudden, he was getting all these clothes for them. Another thing, he was going on a cruise out of Florida. It was only four days before the cruise, and he hadn't bought plane tickets to get to Florida yet ... Looking back, clearly, you add all these things together, I should have known. It makes me so upset that I didn't recognize these signs."

Zanni and Christine's ex-husbands, George and John, are officially wanted for child abduction. There's a manhunt for the brothers, and a $25,000 reward is being offered for their capture. There is speculation that they may have returned to their native country of Syria, but they could be anywhere. As days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, the search for the missing Silah boys has become desperate.

Christine posted a video plea on the Web site YouTube.com. In it, she says, "Greg, I love you and I miss you very much, and I'm looking all over for you. You're not on a vacation. Daddy took you away, and I don't know where you are. If you can hear me, please, pick up the phone and call me. Call 911 and let the police know that you are not able to get in touch with me. Stay strong and have faith. You're in my heart and in my prayers. I'm out there looking for you, and I will find you no matter what. I love you."

Adding to Zanni and Christine's misery is that they say George and John are not typical dads.

"George and John are definitely con artists. They have taken millions of dollars from people, probably dangerous people. They are after them. They have left voicemail messages for them, threatening them," Zanni reveals.

Christine shares her concern. "What if something goes wrong, and because they are running away from the people they have scammed, what if these people attack and something happens to the kids?" she asks.

Christine explains to Dr. Phil how she and Zanni realized their ex-husband's had abducted the boys. Zanni called her a few days after the boys left asking if she had heard from Greg. "She said, ‘I'm starting to worry. Something is not right. Usually Alex text messages me,'" Christine recalls. "That's how it all started."

Dr. Phil reads a list of questionable behaviors the ex-husbands exhibited before the abduction took place. "You said that, ‘He had run off twice before with Greg.' How long was he gone?" Dr. Phil asks Christine.

"He was gone for a whole day until they found him at night," she says.

"He had threatened to take Greg and disappear," Dr. Phil says. "Did this have anything to do with your relationships?"

"I'm convinced that this has mostly to do with the criminal activities," Zanni says. "That his intention was to scam, to have access to a lot of money, to take all the money and run, and in the process, take the children with them."

"Where do you think your children are?" Dr. Phil asks.

"That's the toughest question, because I have absolutely no idea. They could be anywhere," Zanni says.

 

"Both of you said you had a sense about this," Dr. Phil says.

"I actually confronted him just two days before they went missing," Zanni says. "I was really suspicious. The fact that he kept asking for their passports consistently, and I told him point blank, I said, ‘Don't you dare think about taking these children out of the country and not bringing them back. Why are you asking me for their passports? He said, ‘Don't be paranoid.' He said, ‘You're crazy. You're paranoid. You need help. You haven't learned to trust me.'"

A week after their sons disappearance, Zanni and Christine visited John and George's house.

"It was filthy. It was messy," Zanni remembers.

"We were able to go through their [voicemail] messages and hear them," Christine says.

On a recording left for one of the brothers a man speaking Armenian, John and George's native language, says, "Understand this well. Understand it as you wish. If you don't get the money from the 'boy' today, tomorrow we are enemies. I have already lost everything. I am going to take you down with me."

In another message, also in Armenian, a woman says, "Enough messing with our nerves. If I get my hands on you, I'm going to bash your brains out."

"We found on the papers addresses, information, social security numbers, account numbers," Christine shares. "We also found empty gun cases, and we believe that they are armed."

 

"Do you believe that your ex-husbands care about these children?" Dr. Phil asks the women.

"They care about them, but it's in some sick way," Zanni says. "They have put our children in harm's way."

"Do you have anything underway now to find these boys?" Dr. Phil asks.

"We're working with the investigators, the authorities, the FBI. INTERPOL is involved, L.A.P.D.," Zanni says. "Our mission is to find our children, and we will never stop, no matter how long it takes, and we will never give up hope."

Dr. Phil offers a stern warning for George and John Silah. "This show airs everywhere in the United States, and it also airs internationally in over 40 foreign countries, including the Middle East. So, today, your world just got a whole lot smaller," he says. Addressing the children, he says, "Please know that your mothers love you very, very much. They want to bring you home."

 

With tears welling in her eyes, Christine shares a message for her son, Greg, "I want you to come back home, and I'm looking for you, so just hang in there. I'm going to find you, and I'm going to come and get you. I love you so much. I'm not giving up, Sweetheart. I'm coming to get you."

Zanni addresses her sons, Alex and Zaven, "Please, I hope you'll see this show. If you can hear me, if you can see this, please, don't be afraid. Do something. Whatever that may be: pick up a phone, talk to somebody " even if it's a stranger " or send me an e-mail. Whatever you can think of, anything will help. Don't be afraid. I'm going to find you. I'm going to continue to look for you, and I'm going to find you, and hopefully we will be together really soon, before the holidays, and we'll spend Christmas together. I love you."

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the Silah boys or their fathers, please contact (877) LAWFUL, or (877) 529-3855.