Every Child

Has Two Parents


Stolen Children abducted to the earthquake / tsunami zone.  Father travels to Japan to try and locate after son injured.



Toledo father searches for missing kids in Japan

TOLEDO, OHIO (WTVG) -- The tragic events in Japan are a nightmare for one local father. He says his estranged wife, a Japanese native, kidnapped their two children 4 years ago, took them to Japan, and he hasn't heard from them since. He fears their lives may be in danger and that's why he's now there on a desperate search.

Shannon and Riki were last seen by their father, Jesse Duke, 4 years ago. Today, we spoke with him from Japan as he tried frantically to find them. Jesse Duke says, "It's been very difficult. I'm a good dad. I love my kids. Best thing I ever did. It's been tough. Really tough."

Jesse says he met Reiko while serving in Japan in the Navy. The couple fell in love and in 2002 welcomed their first child, Shannon. Not long after, they moved to the U.S. visiting Jesse's mom, Deb, in Temperance often.

Deb Duke says, "Reiko's culture is that a lot of families live together. So even though they had a house in Toledo, they spent a lot of time here."

The couple soon married and in February of 2006, Reiko gave birth to their second child, baby Riki. But Deb suspects that her daughter-in-law wasn't happy. "What we didn't know is that she was very, very homesick. Her mother was not doing well."

Jesse says not even a year after their second child was born, Reiko left for Japan with both kids and never returned.

"We were young. We had as many problems as any young couple. I never saw that coming. I never would've let that happen if I did," says Jesse.

Jesse says his wife occasionally sends emails with pictures and updates. After the tsunami, she contacted him with bad news. "My son Shannon was injured. He had a piece of glass that pierced through organs and that he was in the hospital."

The emails stopped and Jesse immediately booked a flight. He's now in Japan, optimistic he'll find his family.

"I think I will. I hope I will. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think it was a possibility," says Jesse.

Jesse has been working with a variety of organizations and the U.S. Embassy in hopes of finding his children. While in Japan, he plans to search all Red Cross sites and hospitals until they are located.

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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