Noriko, a Japanese native, had agreed to live in Franklin with the children, returning only to Japan for summer vacations. She had repeatedly threatened to take the kids and run.
Still, a Williamson County Judge ordered that Isaac and Rebecca's passports be released to their mother so they could go on vacation - despite an email sent to Savoie in which Noriko suggested she might have more than just vacation on her mind.
"I am on the edge of a cliff," she had written. "I am having more difficulty staying here. It's very hard to watch [the] kids becoming American and losing [their] Japanese identity."
Savoie took it seriously.
"If she's still saying in that letter that she wants to move, that she doesn't like it here in Middle Tennessee, maybe we ought to take that seriously," he told NewsChannel 5 Investigates before his trip to Japan.
The judge told Savoie that he needed to accept that life was full of risks, that he had signed the divorce agreement that allowed her to take the children to Japan.
In fact, Noriko took the children for vacation where she made living arrangements for them. She returned to the United States briefly, then -- with their passports in hand -- and disappeared.
"He had the power, he had the power to keep those kids in my life, and he didn't care," Savoie added.
Savoie was arrested in Japan after he attempted to grab his children and run for the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, Japan. Police arrested him right outside the consulate gates.
Stay tuned to NewsChannel 5 all day for exclusive new developments.