ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSVN) – A girl was found safe in North Carolina, nearly 6 years after she was allegedly kidnapped by her mother in Illinois.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said when Kayla Unbehaun was nine years old, she was “abducted by her non-custodial mother, Heather Unbehaun from South Elgin, Illinois on July 5, 2017.”
On May 13, the Asheville Police Department responded to a business located at 26 Westgate Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina to a report of a kidnapping. Police said a witness believed she had recognized a woman who kidnapped a child in 2017.
APD was able to confirm the identity of Heather and Kayla with the South Elgin Police Department.
Kayla’s father, Ryan, said he was “overjoyed that Kayla is home safe,” and thanked those who helped share her story.
“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,” Ryan said in a statement to NCMEC. “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.”
Heather Unbehaun, who was wanted on an extradition warrant out of Illinois for child abduction, was taken into custody and booked into the Buncombe County Detention Facility on a $250,000 secured bond.
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