Was U.S. State Department Involved in Savoie's Plan?
Christopher Savoie with Isaac and Rebecca
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There are new questions about whether the U.S. government may have been involved in a Franklin father's plan to grab his children in Japan.
The child custody drama began back in August when Christopher Savoie's ex-wife abducted their two children from Franklin.
Last week, he was arrested in Fukuoka, Japan, for trying to bring the children back to Williamson County.
Prosecutors were expected to decide Friday whether to release Savoie or put another 10-day hold on him.
But, it turns out, the U.S. State Department may have been heavily involved in this case from the very beginning.
Savoie has now been held for just over 10 days in a Japanese jail.
He was arrested after he grabbed his children Isaac and Rebecca, then tried to race police to the nearby U.S. consulate.
A warrant had been issued in Franklin for the arrest of his ex-wife, Noriko, for abducting the children. But Japan doesn't recognize child abduction orders from other countries.
According to a publication that covers the State Department, Savoie consulted with the U.S. government prior to his trip to Japan.
"State Department officials advised Savoie that because a U.S. court had awarded him sole custody...., he could apply for new passports for the children if he could get them to the Fukuoka consulate," Foreign Policy reported Thursday, citing three State Department officials.
Instead, Japanese police blocked his way to the U.S. Consulate. When he ran past them, witnesses say, consulate officials refused to open the gates.
Savoie's current wife, Amy, declined to comment. The account could not be immediately confirmed with the State Department.
Whatever happened, Amy Savoie is now appealing for mercy.
"For years, Japan has told families in these situations parental abduction is not a crime -- it's considered to be a family matter. So if it's not a crime, they shouldn't be pressing charges against Christopher," she told NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.
Foreign Policy reports what NewsChannel 5 has been hearing, that the U.S. government is working the case at the highest levels to try to gain Savoie's release.
Amy Savoie was expecting to hear word about her husband's fate sometime during the night, Nashville time.
"If I get good news, well then, I won't sleep because I'll be excited that he's coming home," she said. "And if I get bad news I'll be on the phone quite a bit and emailing all throughout the night -- whatever I can do to get Isaac and Rebecca's father out of jail."
Stay tuned to NewsChannel 5 and newschannel5.com for the latest on the case.
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