MA Father Faces ‘Uncertain’ Future After Briefly Reuniting with His Sons in Cairo

Colin Bower with his sons, Noor and Ramsay
Colin Bower with his sons, Noor and Ramsay

Recently, Fathers and Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. relayed to our readers the inspiring and touching story of Ken Thompson, the never-say-die Australian dad whose son, Andrew, was kidnapped at the age of three and taken to Europe by Thompson’s ex-wife, Melinda Stratton.  After three years of searching for his son, including more than three months cycling through Europe chasing leads, Thompson was able to track Andrew down in Amsterdam, The Netherlands last month and was reunited with him soon after.  While most people would consider this outcome a “happy ending” for Thompson and his son, this article  about a Boston-area father’s experience in locating and visiting with his allegedly kidnapped children illustrates the ongoing odyssey some families face in the midst of a parental kidnapping disaster.

Having traveled the more than 5,500 miles to Egypt more than a half-dozen times over the last thirteen months to locate his sons, Colin Bower of Manchester, Massachusetts finally got to see the boys yesterday.  He met with nine-year-old Noor and seven-year-old Ramsay for half an hour in Cairo, accompanied by the US consolate general, his ex-wife Mirvat El-Nady (who he accuses of illegally absconding to Egypt with the boys) and members of her family.  He had arranged to bring gifts for the children–gifts he would have given them on the birthdays he had missed due to their kidnapping–and arrived excited to see them and hopeful that he might be able to take the boys home when he left.  According to Boston Globe correspondent David Botti, he emerged from the meeting “visibly shaken.”

Colin Bower received sole custody of his boys following a divorce from Ms. Nady in 2008.  In August 2009, Bower arrived at Nady’s home to pick them up after a visit, only to find they were gone.  A Massachusetts court issued a warrant for Ms. Nady’s arrest, and Interpol were alerted.  Now, despite all this, the children are in the custody of their mother in Egypt, thought an Egyptian court has awarded Bower visitation rights.  US Embassy officials report that they are working to restore Mr. Bower’s custody of the children, but right now the case is in the hands of an Egyptian court.

Though, according to Bower, Noor and Ramsay appeared healthy and their physical appearance had not changed much since he had seen them last, the boys told Bower that they “didn’t like America” and preferred Egypt.  Bower reported crying during the meeting, and telling his children, “This is an adult problem between Mommy and Daddy.” 

Following the meeting, Bower vowed to return to Egypt to see his children again, though he admitted his plans for the immediate future were unclear.  What is clear is that this “adult problem” isn’t going away for Bower and his kids.  Bower is working with the media and through a 6,000+ member Facebook page to bring attention to the problem of international parental kidnapping and bring his children home.

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