Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. Bill Nelson seeks aid from Greece in reuniting mother with snatched children

The plight of a Greek mother whose estranged husband abducted their children and brought them to Largo last year has prompted an appeal from Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.

In a letter Tuesday, Nelson urged Greece's ambassador to the United States to "do everything in your power" to reunite Sofia Dionysopoulou with her daughter, Kleopatra, and son, Yiannis.

"And please inform Prime Minister (George) Papandreou that the United States stands ready to assist your government in any way possible," Nelson wrote.

A St. Petersburg Times story on Sunday described how Constantinos Papadoulis, a former university professor, snatched the children in April in violation of a Greek court order that gave full custody of them to his estranged wife pending finalization of their divorce. Dionysopoulou alleged that Papadoulis beat the children and slept nude with his daughter.

Through contacts in Tampa Bay's Greek community, Papadoulis and the children found an apartment in Largo. They had been in Florida just a few weeks when someone recognized the kids as those featured on a Greek missing-persons show, and contacted their mother.

With the pro bono help of Tampa's Holland & Knight law firm, Dionysopoulou began proceedings under the international Hague Convention to get her children back. In December, she flew to Tampa, where a federal judge ordered that the kids be removed from Papadoulis and returned to Greece.

Mother and children flew home to Athens on New Year's Eve. But on March 7, Dionysopoulou says, her estranged husband turned up in Greece and grabbed the children again. She hasn't seen them since, and their whereabouts are unknown.

"We believe (Papadoulis) won't return to the United States, but fear he will instead relocate to a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention," Nelson wrote. "Meantime, many in the large Greek and Greek-American community in Florida's Tampa Bay area are greatly concerned for the welfare of nine-year-old Kleopatra and 11-year-old Yiannis."

Susan Taylor Martin can be contacted at

Sen. Bill Nelson seeks aid from Greece in reuniting mother with snatched children 03/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    Here are some events to help you celebrate this year's pride celebration:

    George Michael Tribute Unveiling

  2.   Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.
  3. Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg sewage crisis edition


    ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly two years, the political stench of a sewage crisis has permeated City Hall.

    Rick vs. Rick are battling to become St. Petersburg mayor. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right.
  4. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  5. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.