A teenage girl who was abducted by her mother six years ago was found alive in North Carolina last week. The girl’s disappearance was also featured in Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries”. Kayla Unbehaun who turned 15 in January was 9 years old when she was abducted by her mother, Heather Unbehaun, during a parental visit in Wheaton.
The girl’s mother was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina, on a fugitive charge, an arrest report states. She is expected to be extradited to Illinois, according to NBC News.
According to police, a woman at Plato’s Closet in Asheville recognized Unbehaun from “published media” about the case and contacted the authorities.
“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 Monday through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
He added, “We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”
According to NBC, Kayla disappeared on July 4, 2017, in Wheaton, Illinois. As per a GoFundMe page created by Kayla’s father, he was supposed to meet Heather Unbehaun on July 5, 2017, to pick up his daughter, but the pair never arrived. The exchange was court-ordered, Iskerka wrote.
Heather was last seen packing her belongings on the roof of her car.
The disappearance of Kayla was also featured on an episode of the Netflix series “Unsolved Mysteries” in November 2022.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office issued a kidnapping warrant for Heather Unbehaun, NBC Chicago reported. It’s not clear if she has obtained an attorney.
Kayla was placed into the custody of the North Carolina Division of Social Services, according to the news station. She is expected to be reunited with her family and brought back to Illinois, the news portal reported.