A girl whose disappearance was featured in Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries” was found alive in North Carolina last week, six years after she was allegedly abducted from her mother.
Illinois-born Kayla Unbehaun was nine years old when she disappeared in 2017 while in the care of her mother, Heather Unbehaun.
He turned 15 in January.
Her disappearance was one of several cases of alleged family abduction featured in “Unsolved Mysteries” in November 2022, but she is now reunited with her father.
“I’m delighted that Kayla is home safe,” said Kayla’s father, Ryan Iskerka, in a statement released Tuesday by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a US charity that provides assistance to various outlets when they have need help with a missing, exploited or found child.
“I want to thank the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and all law enforcement agencies who assisted in his case.
“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning,” she said.
Heather Unbehaun, 40, was arrested Saturday in Asheville, North Carolina, according to NBC.
She was recognized in the “published media” about the case by a woman at a clothing store in Asheville, who contacted authorities, NBC Chicago reported.
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She should be extradited to Illinois.
Kayla was last seen in her mother’s care after a parade in Wheaton, Illinois on July 4, 2017, according to a GoFundMe page Mr. Iskerka created just days after her disappearance.
Mr Iskerka was scheduled to meet Unbehaun on July 5, 2017, to pick up his daughter in a court-ordered exchange, but the couple never arrived.
Unbehaun’s phone had been shut down and her social media deleted, with only her immediate family indicating that she had gone camping in an undisclosed location in Wisconsin, Mr. Iskerka wrote on GoFundMe.
The page was created to raise money so the family could hire a private investigator and any additional costs related to finding Kayla.