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Boys allegedly abducted by fathers return home to California

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Greg Silah, left, and his cousins Alexander and Zaven Silah were reunited with their mothers on Thursday after two years.
Greg Silah, left, and his cousins Alexander and Zaven Silah were reunited with their mothers on Thursday after two years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brothers Alexander and Zaven Silah, cousin Greg Silah reunited with mothers
  • The boys were allegedly abducted by their fathers in 2008, brought to Europe
  • John and George Silah remain in custody in the Netherlands after their arrests last week
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(CNN) -- Three boys were reunited with their mothers Wednesday in California, more than two years after they were allegedly kidnapped by their fathers and taken into hiding in Europe, the FBI said.

Fugitive brothers John and George Silah were arrested last week in the Netherlands after being sought by the FBI since 2008 for allegedly taking their children from Los Angeles without the consent of their custodial mothers.

John Silah is accused of kidnapping his son Greg, now 12. George Silah is accused of kidnapping his sons Alexander, now 14, and Zaven, 11. The men face state and federal parental kidnapping charges and remain in custody in the Netherlands awaiting the next step in the international legal process, the FBI said.

The boys returned home over the weekend.

"Two years, four months and four days after Christine and Zanni last spoke to their children, they were reunited. Alex, Greg and Zaven have returned home to their families who love them and have missed them very much," mothers Christine Stackhouse and Zanni Kalayejian said in a statement Thursday.

"Both families appreciate the media attention to this case and the dignity and privacy afforded them while they were re-introduced to their loved ones."

The boys were supposed to take a Disney cruise with their fathers in July 2008, but they never made it, the boy's families said on a website dedicated to their return.

A multijurisdictional investigation led authorities to Greece and then to the Netherlands, where the men were arrested.

While the boys have been gone, their families have kept websites in their names, updating them almost every month with messages of love and hope for their safe return.

Greg's mother, Christine Stackhouse, wrote her last post on gregsilah.com on October 16, titled "Missing you this Halloween."

"Greg, we will be missing you this Halloween and we hope that next year you will be with us so we can all go trick-or-treating and collect lots of candy just like the old times!"

A November 5 post on silahboys.blogspot.com announced that the boys had been found and their fathers taken into custody.

"One week ago today, Zanni was celebrating Zaven's 11th birthday at Westchester Lutheran School. She posted on her Facebook page: 'Happy 11th Birthday to my sweetheart Zaven! I cannot believe you're already 11!!! I wish all of your birthday dreams come true. ... And I pray this is the very last birthday we are apart. Love you and miss you so very much.'

"Just hours later her prayers were answered with the phone call from authorities in charge of the investigation. It was news that Alex, Zaven and Greg had been located in the Netherlands. Plans were being made to capture their fathers and return the boys back to their mothers."