When Alissa Zagaris' ex-husband asked her to send him their then-10-year-old's vaccination records, she said no way. Son Leo was in Greece visiting his father for the summer, per stipulations of the couple's divorce. But just days before the boy was to return to Indiana, Nikos Zagaris called Alissa on Aug. 11, 2011, to say the child had mumps and had to remain with him a month. Also he needed those records—records that are required to enroll children in school. So began her two years of emotional and legal hell, which ended with Leo being returned to her in March 2013, and with a court this year ordering Nikos to pay her $1.17 million after she sued him for fraud, breach of their custody arrangement, and the damage done to her relationship with her son. Whether she collects remains to be seen.
The Indianapolis Star revisits Alissa's quest to get Leo back: A warrant out for Nikos' arrest, this issued by a Hamilton Superior Court, which charged Nikos with felony interference with custody. She also filed a case with the State Department. A Greek judge ultimately determined Leo should return home, but Nikos balked. A US district court next charged him with international parental kidnapping. Leo was ultimately taken from school and reunited with his mom at the airport after the FBI and Greek government got involved. Now, the "strongest symbol of how far they've come": Leo and Alissa plan to visit Greece together ... next year, when he is 16 and outside his father's grasp. Read the Star's full story here. (Read more child kidnapping stories.)