Missing Girl Reunited With Father After Being Recognized 6 Years Later
A girl who went missing six years ago was found alive in North Carolina on Saturday, and her mother was booked into jail on suspicion of child abduction.
Heather Unbehaun allegedly abducted her daughter, Kayla Unbehaun, after losing custody. The girl was last seen in 2017, when she was 9 years old, in South Elgin, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. Last week, the pair were spotted at a used clothing shop in Asheville, North Carolina, by an employee who said she recognized the mother and called police.
The employee had recognized the pair from an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” Asheville Police Department spokesperson Samantha Booth told CNN. Photos of the Unbehauns from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children posters were shown at the end of the episode called “Abducted by a Parent,” which first aired in November 2022.
Heather Unbehaun was taken into custody by Asheville police officers just before 7:30 p.m. on May 13, according to the police department. Kayla, now 15, was taken in by the North Carolina Division of Social Services before reuniting with her father, Ryan Iskerka.
“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe,” Iskerka said in a statement, shared by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in which he thanked law enforcement agencies. “I also want to thank all of the followers on the ‘Bring Kayla Home’ Facebook page, who helped keep her 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.”
Unbehaun was booked into jail in North Carolina on a $250,000 secured bond with plans for her to be extradited to Illinois, Asheville police said. However, she was released on bail Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday, she was booked into jail in Kane County, Illinois, where the alleged kidnapping took place, according to jail records.
WLS-TV in Chicago reported that she had returned to Kane County on her own and turned herself in. She has since been released again on a $10,000 bond but was ordered to wear a GPS tracking monitor, the ABC affiliate reported.
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