Shelley Beyak of Abbotsford is shown here with her kids Mia and Liam before they were illegally taken to Lebanon by their father in spring 2018.

Shelley Beyak of Abbotsford is shown here with her kids Mia and Liam before they were illegally taken to Lebanon by their father in spring 2018.

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

An Abbotsford mom whose kids were abducted to Beirut, Lebanon by their father two years ago is desperately hoping for word that they are OK following a massive explosion in the capital city this week.

Shelley Beyak said she has been emailing, texting and calling her estranged husband, Wissam Tarabichi, begging for word that her children – Liam, 10, and Mia, 11 – are safe.

But Beyak said she is not surprised that she hasn’t heard back from Tarabichi because he has been ignoring her since her last visit to Beirut in November.

“I would do anything to talk to them,” Beyak said.

Mia and Liam have been in Lebanon since March 2018, when they were scheduled to travel on a court-approved trip to Seattle with Tarabichi – who is from Beirut – over spring break.

RELATED: Abbotsford mom fights to get back kids abducted to Lebanon by their dad

They didn’t return for the start of school at Margaret Stenersen Elementary in Abbotsford, and Beyak was notified.

It was then discovered that Tarabichi had indeed travelled to Seattle but, from there, he and the kids boarded a plane to Paris and then to Beirut, which does not recognize international parental kidnapping as a crime and where custody issues are often made by religious authorities.

The Canadian courts stripped Tarabichi of all his parents rights and a warrant for his arrest remains in effect, but it can only be executed if he leaves Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Beyak has launched an extensive – and expensive – legal battle to get her kids back, including hiring a lawyer in Lebanon, contacting politicians, and urging the Canadian government to help her in her battle to bring them home.

Beyak has also made visits to Beirut, where she was able to see Mia and Liam in person in early and late 2019, after which Tarabichi ignored all attempts by Beyak to reach him for further contact with the kids.

RELATED: Abbotsford mom travels to Beirut to visit abducted kids

RELATED: Abbotsford mom calls on PM to help bring home kids abducted to Lebanon

At that time, Beyak was becoming increasingly concerned about the kids’ safety, due to a series of violent civil protests that began in mid-October, launching a political and economic crisis, including the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The crisis has been further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the two situations resulting in Lebanon’s currency plummeting, soaring food prices, massive layoffs and widespread poverty.

Beyak said a court date had been set for March of this year in Lebanon to determine custody of the kids, and she had been “cautiously optimistic” about how it would proceed.

But the courts were shut down during the protests and continue to remain closed due to the pandemic, and Beyak has no idea when her case can proceed or when she will be able to see Liam and Mia again.

She was further distressed this week after hearing that a massive explosion had taken place at a warehouse in Beirut that was storing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – used as a fertilizer in agriculture and an explosive.

RELATED: Huge explosions rock Beirut with widespread damage, injuries

As of Wednesday morning, news reports indicate that at least 135 people had died in the explosion, more than 4,000 people were injured and 300,000 people had suffered damage to their homes.

Beyak said that if the kids are OK, she would like just one message from Tarabichi to confirm that.

“I think Mia and Liam would at least like to talk to their mom … I imagine they feel alone,” she said.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

abbotsfordLebanon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Shelley Beyak is shown here with her son Liam and daughter Mia in Abbotsford. The kids were abducted to Lebanon by their father in 2018.

Shelley Beyak is shown here with her son Liam and daughter Mia in Abbotsford. The kids were abducted to Lebanon by their father in 2018.

Just Posted

LMS Heritage vessel, the Kirkegaard takes to the waters of Ladysmith harbour. (Bob Burgess photo)
LMS volunteers complete restoration of Kirkegaard heritage boat

The restoration took nearly five years and over 7,500 hours to complete

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

Red Seal Chef and Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Christina Acevedo’s new book Two Little F Words hopes to inspire readers to eat healthier diets. (Submitted photo)
Local nutritionist’s book aims to promote health through feasting, fasting, and a whole food diet

Christina Acevedo was inspired to write Two Little F Words after her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Most Read