The American embassy in Egypt and the U.S. State Department are now involved in the search for a Franklin County boy who was abducted while visiting his father.
In a statement, the federal authorities said they are “aware of the situation and working with Egyptian authorities” to locate 11-year-old Stefano Khalil Atteya of Fayetteville.
U.S. officials said they are also in contact with Stefano's mother, who refuses to leave Egypt without her son.
Stefano, who also goes by “Nikko,” was last seen by his mother on August 1 as they traveled from Cairo International Airport to the city of Port Said. His family claims the boy was in a taxi cab with his father, Mohammad Atteyah, who pushed Nikko's mother away from the door and ordered the driver to go.
“We're trying to find him,” Nikko's aunt, Olga Papangos, told abc27 News. “We will find him and hopefully he's good when we find him.”
Papangos and Nikko's mother believe Mohammed had been planning the kidnapping for at least the last three years.
“How could anyone that has a heart do that?” Papangos said. “If he could do that, God knows what he is willing to do to him from here on out. For all we know he could be chained up in a basement somewhere.”