For Amina and Belel Kandil, what started as a routine week with their father in August 2014 soon turned out to be much more. While it was supposed to be a trip to Canada, their loved ones soon realized the kids were possibly taken elsewhere. Netflix’s ‘Unsolved Mysteries: Abducted by a Parent’ delves into the story behind young Amina and Belel’s disappearance and a mother’s fight for justice. So, if you’re curious about where the kids might be and who possibly has them, here’s what we know.
What Happened to Amina and Belel Kandil?
Amina and Belel Kandil were born to Rebecca Downey and Ahmed Abdallah Taha Kandil. While Amina was born in September 2003 in Augusta, Georgia, her younger brother, Belel, was born in January 2006 in the same city. Amina, with a shy personality, was a direct contrast to Belel, who was more outgoing. At the time of the incident, their parents had been separated and had an agreement regarding shared custody, with them living in Virginia.
On August 28, 2014, Ahmed picked up Amina and Belel from Rebecca’s place; they were supposed to travel to Toronto, Canada, for the weekend. However, Rebecca couldn’t reach Ahmed or the kids in the days that followed, prompting her to alert the authorities. The investigation revealed that Amina and Belel were last seen with their father at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York on August 30, 2014. Flight records suggested their final destination was Ataturk, Turkey.
Where Are Amina and Belel Kandil Now?
At the time of their disappearance, Amina was 10-years-old, and Belel was 8. According to the show, the kids were supposed to be back in school on September 2, 2014, but they were nowhere to be seen, and Rebecca couldn’t contact them. She called the police soon after that and checked in with Ahmed’s family in Giza, Egypt. He was a naturalized US citizen and held Egyptian citizenship. However, his family claimed to know nothing about his whereabouts.
According to the show, Rebecca later learned that Ahmed’s house was empty, and there were no cars parked outside, suggesting he had left the area. By September 5, 2014, the authorities discovered that Ahmed had taken the kids to JFK airport in New York, where they boarded a flight to Boryspil, Ukraine, and then to Ataturk, Turkey. Records did not indicate the trio returned, and a circuit court soon granted Rebecca sole and legal custody.
On the show, Rebecca talked about differences with Ahmed regarding how they wanted to raise Amina and Belel. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the move was planned; Ahmed had attended a survivalist camp, learned how to shoot, and shipped camping equipment for the kids overseas. Given that Ahmed had left the United States, it became difficult for the authorities to track him and the kids. In December 2014, Rebecca learned that Amina’s email account was accessed from Hatay in Turkey.
In June 2021, Stacey Sullivan, the FBI agent working on the case, said, “We do have quite a few ideas of where they could be. We have narrowed it down and believe them primarily to be with their father, yes. We don’t believe he would let them out of his sight at this point. And his father has very strong family ties to include his own parents, as well as some other relatives that reside in Egypt, so based on everything so far, potentially, we believe they are in Egypt.”
It was further mentioned on the show that Rebecca received an email in September 2015, and it appeared to be from Ahmed. The email suggested that he and the kids were living on a farm and were happy there. Furthermore, the email mentioned that Amina and Belel would get to decide where to live once they got to an age where they could differentiate between right and wrong. The FBI continued working with their legal attaché office in Egypt and the US Department of State to find the kids. But nothing concrete came up in the years that followed.
The authorities have speculated that Amina and Belel could be living in Alexandria, Cairo, or Giza, in Egypt, or in Hatay, Turkey. Stacey also urged people to look out for the kids online and the possibility that they could be using different names. She further confirmed that the FBI had chased down every tip that came their way and asked the public to come forward if they had any information. In addition, a Facebook page called Rebecca’s Family posts regular updates regarding the case and keeps it in the spotlight.