The US embassy in Athens on Thursday honored 11 Greek Police (EL.AS) officers involved in an international investigation that led to the whereabouts of three southern California children missing in a well-documented 2008 parent abduction case.

All three of the children were located in May 2010 in the Netherlands following what US ambassador to Greece Daniel B. Smith called an "exhaustive investigation" by Greek police and cooperation with US and Dutch law enforcement. Two Syrian-Armenian brothers, John and George Silah, were arrested for abducting their children -- two by the one man and one by the other.

During a brief ceremony at his official residence, Smith presented the 11 Greek officers with certificates of appreciation awarded by the FBI director, as the US federal law enforcement agency had featured the case on its parental kidnapping database. The US envoy emphasised that parental abductions are a tragedy for both the kidnapped children and the parent and family "left behind".

The US envoy also read out a letter by the mother of two of the childre expressing her appreciation of the efforts by EL.AS.

In July 2008, John Silah failed to return his son, 13-year-old Greg, to his ex-wife, who retained custody, whereas George Silah, failed to return his two sons, Alex and Zaven, 15 and 12, to his ex-wife at the end of a summer visitation. All three Silah children resided in southern California.