International custody cases can be difficult and incredibly frustrating for parents and authorities involved. However, one such case in Jacksonville ended with the children coming home Monday night.
After three years of waiting, Crystal Cabrera landed at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport with her two daughters Estrella (4) and Chionoah (5). The girls were just babies when their father took them across the border to Mexico. Authorities say a confrontation between the couple prompted Miguel Cabrera to flee with his kids.
Relief set in as soon as Crystal Cabrera knew her girls were back on American soil.
"I'm just really glad they're home and everything went okay," she says.
Cabrera accompanied by federal authorities picked the girls up at their grandmother's house in Mexico.
"I thought they wouldn't be there when I got there," recalls Cabrera. "I thought they would be moved somewhere else. I was so happy to see were okay."
Meanwhile, the girl's father, Miguel Cabrera, is in a North Carolina jail facing international parental kidnapping charges. Because Crystal was legally married to Miguel when he left, local authorities had difficulties pursuing the case early on.
"It's hard for people to understand because there is a lot of emotion involved in these cases. But until something is filed in court, we are very limited in what we can do," says Lt. John page with Jacksonville Police Dept.
As soon as Crystal's divorce went through last August, the FBI and several assisting agencies set out to get the girls home.
Now back in their native land, both Estrella and Chionoah are learning a foreign language, since neither speaks English.