A girl who went missing six years ago was found alive in North Carolina on Saturday and her mother was sent to jail on suspicion of child abduction.
Heather Unbehaun is said to have kidnapped her daughter Kayla Unbehaun after she lost custody. The girl was last seen in 2017 when she was nine years old in South Elgin, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. Last week, the couple were spotted at a thrift store in Asheville, North Carolina, by a clerk who said she recognized the mother and called the police.
The employee recognized the couple from an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” said Samantha Booth, spokeswoman for the Asheville Police Department said CNN. Photos of the Unbehaun from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s posters were featured at the end of the episode titled “Kidnapped by a Parent,” which first aired in November 2022.
Heather Unbehaun was taken into custody by Asheville police officers shortly before 7:30 p.m. on May 13, according to sources the police department. Kayla, now 15, was inducted into the North Carolina Division of Social Services before reuniting with her father, Ryan Iskerka.
“I’m over the moon that Kayla is safe at home,” Iskerka said in a statement released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in which he thanked the law enforcement authorities. “I would also like to say thank you to all the followers Bring Kayla Home Facebook page.who helped keep their story alive and were instrumental in spreading awareness. We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”
On Wednesday, she was taken to the Kane County, Illinois jail where the alleged kidnapping took place, according to jail records.
WLS TV in Chicago reported that she returned to Kane County alone and turned herself in. She has since been released on $10,000 bail, but was ordered to wear a GPS tracking monitor, the ABC affiliate reported.
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