A 30-year-old Napa man bound for Jordan was arrested Tuesday before he boarded a plane at the San Francisco International Airport with his two daughters, Napa Police said.
Investigators said Ahmad Alwawi was in apparent violation of a Napa court order that he not take his children out of Napa County during divorce proceedings.
Alwawi was detained at the airport before he and his two daughters boarded an early afternoon flight for Amman, Jordan via Chicago, Napa Police Sgt. Chase Haag said.
His wife, Jessica Alwawi, had filed for divorce Friday in Napa County Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences, court documents show.
In her declaration to the court, Jessica Alwawi's said her husband wanted to take the girls to either Jordan or Saudi Arabia.
The court issued a temporary court order Friday directing that Ahmad Alwawi not to take the two girls, ages 4 and 1, out of Napa County, court documents show.
Ahmad Alwawi is suspected of packing his bags and driving to the airport with the two girls, Haag said. His wife told investigators that she did not hear them leave the house where the family resided in the 700 block of Joseph Court, he said.
Investigators with the Napa County District Attorney's Office contacted Napa Police at about 11 a.m. Tuesday about Jessica Alwawi's fear that her children were being taken out of the U.S., Haag said.
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Police then called authorities at San Francisco International Airport, which the mother said would be her husband's likely departure point, Haag said.
The San Francisco Police Department's airport division tracked Alwawi down before he boarded the plane, he said. Alwawi, who allegedly purchased the tickets for himself and the girls that morning, was detained at the airport, Haag said.
Napa County investigators took custody of Alwawi and drove him back to Napa County, Haag said. "He was cooperative," Haag said. The two girls were returned unharmed to their mother, he said.
Alwawi was booked into the Napa County Jail at 6:45 p.m. on suspicion of child abduction and disobeying a court order, authorities said.
According to her divorce filings, Jessica Alwawi said she and her husband have been married 5 1/2 years. Ahmad Alwawi, a certified public accountant, lost his job in June, his wife said in the court papers.
Ahmad Alwawi wanted his wife to give up her two children from a previous relationship, a 11-year-old boy and a 15 year-old girl, so that she could move with him and their two daughters to Saudi Arabia where he had found another job, Jessica Alwawi said in a court statement.
"He is demanding that I give him the children's passports, birth certificates, and social security cards, but I am afraid of his motive," she said.