Mom files lawsuit against UPS Store after son's parental kidnapping

Rachelle Smith's pain and anguish spilled out during a press conference shortly after her 4-year-old son Dexter was kidnapped, investigators say, by his father, Ali Salamey.

Over 300 days later, Dexter was safely returned home. Salamey now sits in the Pinellas County jail facing federal and state kidnapping charges.

But now, Smith says all the pain and suffering could have been avoided, and she blames a UPS Store in St. Petersburg and a notary for allowing it to happen.

Smith is now suing.

"The linchpin in the kidnapping came down to him being able to get a passport for the minor child and what we found out is that it was fraudulently done and it was done through the UPS service at a UPS Store," said one of Smith’s attorneys, Craig Huffman.

In the 41-page lawsuit, Smith accused the notary and the UPS Store of gross negligence.

The suit claims that the "illegal notarization" allowed Salamey to fraudulently obtain a passport for her son Dexter, claiming the notary "negligently notarized the document in violation of the clear instructions that it should not be notarized without both parents being present."

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What followed, Huffman says, was months of anguish from a heartbroken mother. "All the ensuing damages that Rachelle suffered the emotional distress the loss of her son not being with her.” 

Smith claims Salamey was able to take the fraudulent passport and show it the Lebanese consulate in Michigan.

"Without UPS being responsible for this, it never would’ve happened," continued Huffman.

Attorney Patrick Leduc agrees. He has been Smith's lawyer from the beginning of the criminal case.

"Without this notary, he can’t get a passport, and without the passport, Dexter’s not leaving the country," said Leduc.

FOX 13 News contacted the owner of the UPS store. He said he was unaware of the lawsuit and would be looking into it.

Smith is asking for tens of thousands of dollars in damages, but if she wins, it will up to a jury to decide the final amount.