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.

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.

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.

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

Michigan Office