Kayla Unbenhaun, 15, was reported missing in 2017 at the age of nine while in the care of her mother Heather Unbenhaun, according to US media reports.
A woman at a shopping center contacted police after she recognized the girl from “published media” about the case, the reports said.
Unbenhaun was last seen in her mother’s care at a Fourth of July parade in Wheaton, Illinois. Her father, Ryan Iskerka, was supposed to meet with the mother and his daughter in a court-ordered exchange, but the pair never arrived.
The court had granted Iskerka custody of his daughter and gave her mother visitation rights.
The police were contacted at the time and a missing person’s report was filed for the girl, according to the reports.
Heather Ubehaun was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina, on a fugitive charge and was later released on bond, a court clerk told local media. Her next court date is scheduled for July 11.
“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. I want to thank the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted with her case,” Kayla’s father, Ryan Iskerka, said in a statement on the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s official Facebook page.
“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning,” he added.
The disappearance was one of several cases involving alleged family abductions that were featured on an episode of the hit Netflix series “Unsolved Mysteries” in November 2022.
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