A girl whose disappearance was featured on Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries” was found alive in North Carolina last week, six years after she was allegedly abducted by her mother.
Kayla Unbehaun, who was born in Illinois, was nine years old when she went missing in 2017 while in the care of her mother, Heather Unbehaun.
In January, she turned 15.
Her disappearance was one of several cases involving alleged family abduction featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” in November 2022 but she has now been reunited with her father.
“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe,” Kayla’s father, Ryan Iskerka, said in a statement released on Tuesday, by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – a US charity that provides assistance to various outlets when they need help with a missing, exploited, or recovered child.
“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.
“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning,” he said.
Heather Unbehaun, 40, was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina, on Saturday, according to NBC.
She was recognised from “published media” about the case by a woman at a clothing shop in Asheville, who contacted authorities, NBC Chicago reported.
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She is expected to be extradited to Illinois.
Kayla was last seen in her mother’s care following a parade in Wheaton, Illinois, for the Fourth of July in 2017, according to a GoFundMe page Mr Iskerka created days after her disappearance.
Mr Iskerka was expected to meet Unbehaun on 5 July 2017, to pick up his daughter in a court-ordered exchange, but the pair never arrived.
Unbehaun’s phone had been turned off and her social media cancelled, with only her closest family members having indicated that she went on a camping trip to an unknown location in Wisconsin, Mr Iskerka wrote on the GoFundMe.
The page was set up to raise funds so the family could hire a private investigator and any additional costs concerning the search for Kayla.