A young girl who was abducted by her mother in July 2017 has been found thanks to an appearance she made on Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced that Kayla Unbehaun, who was nine years old at the time of the abduction, had been located in Asheville, North Carolina.
Her mother, Heather Unhebhaun, who was accused of taking her from South Elgin, Illinois in 2017, was arrested.
Kayla was only nine years old when her non-custodial mother took her.
According to local reports, Kayla’s father went to pick his daughter up from her mother’s house on July 5, but couldn’t not find Kayla. Heather allegedly packed her car and drove off with Kayla on July 4.
Since her disappearance the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shared an image of a nine-year-old Kayla as well as an age-progression photo online. A Facebook page was created to spread awareness and every so often an article about her disappearance would appear in the local news.
Kayla also appeared on Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries, and it was her appearance on the show that led to her rescue.
According to WSOC-TV, a store owner who recently watched an episode of the series spotted Kayla and called police.
Authorities arrested Heather and Kayla, who is now 15, was placed into protective custody.
“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. 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,” Kayla’s father said in a statement.
Heather is currently being held on a $250,000 bond and is awaiting extradition to Illinois.
Although it will take some time for everyone to catch up on the lost years, I’m so glad Kayla made it back home. Now is the time for the healing to begin.