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NC5 Investigates: Abducted to Japan

Savoie: 'Very, Very Sad' to Leave Children Behind

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Christopher Savoie Christopher Savoie
Isaac and Rebecca Isaac and Rebecca
Amy Savoie Amy Savoie
Noriko Savoie with young Isaac and Rebecca Noriko Savoie with young Isaac and Rebecca

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- He's finally been released from a Japanese jail, but Christopher Savoie says he's still not celebrating.

Savoie landed himself behind bars in Japan more than two weeks ago after he grabbed the children who had been abducted from him. Thursday, prosecutors set him free.

NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams was at Savoie's house in Franklin when he called home.

Williams said he heard a man who was at once relieved, but still very sad.

Even though Tennessee courts gave Savoie full custody of the children, Japanese prosecutors essentially agreed not to pursue charges against him  -- if he'd go home without those children.

"Oh, my God -- it's so good to hear your voice," his wife Amy said, as she chatted with him about mid-morning Thursday.

For her, the first call from her husband came around 4 a.m.

As news broke of Christopher Savoie's release from a Japanese jail, she once again became the voice of the man caught in the international child-custody controversy.

Finally, out of jail, he caught his first glimpse of her in more than two weeks on a television tuned to CNN in Japan.

"He was surprised to turn on the TV and see his wife on TV," she said.

"Did he realize what an advocate you had been?" Williams asked.

"I don't think it has really sunk in with him yet," Amy said.

Savoie, who spoke to NewsChannel 5 Investigates before his trip to Japan, was arrested after he grabbed his children, Isaac and Rebecca, as they walked to school.

His ex-wife, Noriko, abducted the children from Tennessee back in August.

"I'm coming home and my kids aren't," Savoie told Amy over the phone.

In fact, the frustration could clearly be heard in his voice, frustration that his flesh and blood must remain 7,000 miles behind him in Japan.

"What are his emotions right now?" Williams asked Amy.

"Oh, he's all over the map. I can't even speculate. He's exhausted, traumatized, despondent, very sad about Isaac and Rebecca not coming home with him," Amy said.

Even though he now has his freedom, he knows he's probably lost something just as precious. He told Amy, "It's just a very, very sad moment for me to get on a plane and not have my children."

So rather than celebrating, Christopher Savoie comes back to face the reality that his once-big, happy family -- his kids and her kids -- may never be together again.

"Rather than a man who is going to be happy to be released from jail, he's in a grieving process," Amy said. "He really wants people to understand that and respect that he's in the midst of a grieving process that he's not going to see his kids again."

We're not exactly sure where Christopher Savoie is. His wife said he needs to take a few days, out of the public eye, to grieve and recuperate before he decides what's next for him and his family.

He had been held for 17 days, then Japanese prosecutors suddenly released him and said they won't pursue charges.

By all accounts, it was the result of public pressure and diplomatic pressure. This case had become a big source of contention between the U.S. and Japan, and both governments wanted to find a way out.

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