Silah Brothers Wanted for Kidnapping Their Children


LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Daily News)— Felony arrest warrants have been issued for two brothers suspected of kidnapping their three sons a month ago, a publicist hired by the boys’ mothers announced on August 2.

Ronald Brot of Brot & Gross, Sherman Oaks, who represents the mothers of the missing children, explained in an interview with the Mirror-Spectatoron August 5 the specific charge. “Technically, it is child abduction, which is a charge leveled on behalf of the custodial parents, rather than the child. They could be charged with
kidnapping when they are apprehended.”

The arrest warrants for George Silah and Jean John Silah, both Syrian-Armenians, were issued Friday, August 1, after the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office determined they might have abducted the children.

Both men are Syrian citizens. The mothers, Christine Jeanbart (formerly Silah) and Zaloumi (Zany) Meguerian had joint legal custody with their former husbands. Meguerian had physical custody of her sons, Alexander Zaven Silah and Zaven Philip Silah, and Jeanbart had primary physical custody for her son, Greg.

A District Attorney spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The mothers of the boys claim the two men have received threats against their lives, and are worried because the three sons are apparently with their fathers, according to the publicist.

John Silah, 47, picked up his child, 9-yearold Greg, from his ex-wife for a summer vacation visit on June 23.

A court order obligated him to return Greg to his mother by July 2, but he failed to do so.

Police noted that he had threatened to take their son to his home nation of Syria in the past.

At the same time, George Silah, 46, had his two sons, Alexander, 12, and Zaven Silah, 8, at the home the brothers shared with their parents in the 7300 block of West 81st Street.

He was scheduled to take his sons on a cruise on July 5, but never made it to the cruise.

Police discovered that the brothers had not paid the rent for several months and their home appeared abandoned.

If apprehended, both brothers will have to post a $500,000 bail, according to Brot.

“These children have been missing since early July and we have reason to believe they are in danger,” Brot said. “We are hopeful that with these warrants the pursuit of the children will be stepped up considerably.”

Also in an interview on August 5 with the Mirror-Spectator, Brot said he did not know why an official Amber Alert had not been issued. He noted, however, “The missing children are posted on the Amber Alert website.”

He added, “Unlike a similar, current case, involving Clark Rockefeller, the situation of these Armenian parents and their children has received little press attention. The Rockefeller case received national media attention and the child was found within a week. We are not getting that sort of notice out here on the West Coast.”

According to the two mothers, the men left a trail of evidence pointing to criminal acts, and are on the run from members of the Armenian community from which they have allegedly scammed about $5 million.

They were last thought to be in a stolen, silver Infiniti G-35, plate number 6DZS016.

Meguerian, mother of Alex and Zaven, and Jeanbart, mother of Greg, pleaded for the fathers to return their sons unharmed.

“We’re begging them to drop the children off in a safe place so they may return home,” said Meguerian.

“Our children must be terrified,” said Jeanbart.

“We have reason to believe that the children may still be in the United States,” Brot said. “Our belief is based on the fact that the mothers had refused to release the boys’ passports, though they had been requested, and also because the identities of the brothers and their sons have been posted on various government agency ‘watch lists’ nationwide.”

According to the mothers’ publicist, the recent investigation of the brothers’ abandoned home revealed that the brothers left in a hurry sometime on or shortly after July 2, and George Silah’s girlfriend disappeared at the same time.

The mothers’ fears are heightened in view of the fact that the brothers’ parents left for Syria the week prior to the children’s disappearance, and remain in Syria at this time.

According to the mothers, police at the home discovered shredded fake documents and immigration applications, other persons’ identification documents, passport photos, notes verifying alleged illegal transactions for thousands of dollars, evidence of bank and credit card fraud and evidence of at least one firearm, shell casings, ammunition and a manual for a Smith and Wesson revolver.

The men may have been involved in selling fake identities to people entering the country illegally. Jeanbart believes her identity was sold by her ex-husband years earlier, based on an FBI investigation, which took place in 2000.

On July 24, a Superior Court judge determined that the three boys had been abducted and wrongfully retained and awarded sole legal and physical custody to the mothers.

The judge also cut off all visitation rights for the fathers and ordered that an investigation be opened immediately by the Los Angeles District Attorneys office to “locate, retrieve and return the minor children” to their mothers.

Jeanbart and her husband separated in June 2001 and their divorce became final in October of 2003. Meguerian left her husband in August 2004, and their divorce judgment was entered in March 2006.

Both mothers are American citizens, as are their sons. Both Meguerian and Jeanbart have been interviewed on the Fox News channel’s show “On the Record” and also on MSNBC concerning the alleged kidnappings. They have also hired a private investigator, John Nazarian, to help them retrieve their children.

They are asking the public, organizations committed to finding abducted children and the media for help. Anyone with information on the case was asked to call detectives at (310) 482-6334.

A website has been created with the latest information on the case, http://findthesilahchildren.com

(Additional material was added to this story by Daphne Abeel.)