‘Stolen by Their Father,’ a Lifetime film, is a heartbreaking story about a mother’s determination to reclaim her missing daughters.
The suspense drama film, directed by Simone Stock, follows Lizbeth Meredith, a young single mother with two daughters named Meredith and Marianthi.
When the children don’t return from a visit to their father one day, a worried Lizbeth suspects something is seriously wrong.
When she discovers that her ex-husband has kidnapped them and gone to his native Greece, the worst nightmare of her life begins.
Lizbeth then embarks on the difficult task of reuniting with her daughters, displaying exceptional fortitude and resilience despite feeling isolated in a foreign nation.
The remarkable narrative and powerful performances of the cast members allow the audience to relate to and be inspired by the protagonist’s experience.
Furthermore, one can’t help but question if ‘Stolen by Their Father’ is based on a true story.
If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!
Is ‘Stolen by Their Father’ (2022) Movie Based on a True Story?
The book tells the storey of Lizbeth’s ordeal in 1994, when her ex-husband Grigorios Basdaras absconded to Greece with their young children Meredith and Marianthi.
Grigorios, a Greek citizen working overseas in the 1980s, and Lizbeth Meredith fell in love the moment they met.
The couple married in Anchorage, Alaska, on November 23, 1985. However, when Grigorios began beating Lizbeth, she was forced to flee with their two girls to a women’s shelter in 1990, where they remain today. The marriage was dissolved on August 14, 1991.
While both parents shared legal custody of the daughters, the state of Alaska gave sole physical custody to the mother.
As part of the custodial agreement, Meredith, then four, and Marianthi, then six, paid weekly visits to their father. Both daughters went with their father on March 13, 1994, as was customary, and Lizbeth was to pick them up from daycare two days later.
When Grigorios did not drop them off at the institution on March 15, 1994, Lizbeth became concerned.
Lifetime's 'Stolen By Their Father' Stars Sarah Drew, EP Elizabeth Smart https://t.co/HRfukKY9LW
— Lizbeth Meredith (@LizbethMeredith) February 3, 2022
The police informed her, much to her dismay, that her ex-husband had supposedly flown out of the United States two days ago with their daughters. He’d brought the girls to his home nation of Greece.
Lizbeth set off on a mission to safely return Meredith and Marianthi to Anchorage. The State police department failed to enter the girls’ details into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database two months after they went missing, according to the author’s narrative.
Lizbeth then approached a local newspaper, which reported her tale, resulting in a surge of community support in the form of fundraisers and letters to the White House.
Lizbeth was eventually able to travel to Greece to begin seeking for her girls thanks to financial aid and a White House visit. She hired a private investigator, who was successful in tracking down Grigorios and the girls.
After a lengthy legal process, the Greek courts recognised the American custody order on December 28, 1994, allowing Lizbeth to reclaim Meredith and Marianthi.
However, when Grigorios learned about it before the court’s ruling was carried out, he hastily abducted the girls and fled. Lizbeth returned to her homeland, despondent, without her daughters.
Due to legal issues, Lizbeth was arrested on her second trip to Greece the following year. On May 20, 1996, the Greek courts overturned their prior decision and granted Grigorios temporary custody of the girls, which was a terrible turn of events.
Lizbeth discovered that he had filed a petition to prove that she was an unfit mother, and that his lawyer’s spouse had reportedly influenced the court’s decision.
Lizbeth eventually won custody of Meredith and Marianthi after a lot of wrangling with government officials and legal agencies, as well as some help from the police.
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After more than two years in Greece, Lizbeth was reunited with her girls and was able to return them to Alaska.
After being accustomed to the Greek language and schooling for more than two years, Meredith and Marianthi had lost their English-speaking skills by the time they returned to their mother.
It took them a long time to adjust to the Anchorage environment and many years to recover from their trauma. Both of them are now in their 30s, having completed their educations and pursuing successful jobs.
Lizbeth, on the other hand, went on to earn a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and has devoted her life to working with at-risk kids and survivors of domestic abuse.
She published her memoir in 2016, and it has touched the hearts of many readers all around the world.
Lizbeth eventually surrendered the book’s rights to the producers of ‘Stolen by Their Father,‘ so that her narrative may reach a wider audience and give victims of such acts a voice.
Elizabeth Smart, one of the film’s executive producers, is a kidnapping survivor and missing persons and child sexual abuse prevention crusader.
Lizbeth’s story was uncommon and brave to her, which makes the film much more important for women all around the world.
However, in an interview, Lizbeth did admit that some characters and occurrences from her biography had to be changed significantly to fit the cinematic perspective.
To summarise, ‘Stolen by Their Father’ is a near-exact retelling of true events, with a dash of fiction and a powerful message.