UNITED STATES NEWS

Girl allegedly abducted in Illinois by noncustodial mother found safe in North Carolina

May 16, 2023, 12:48 PM

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A girl who was allegedly abducted in suburban Chicago in 2017 by her noncustodial mother has been found safe in North Carolina after she was spotted at a business, authorities said.

The child was found safe Saturday in Asheville, North Carolina, by officers who were called to a business by someone who “believed she had recognized a woman who kidnapped a child in 2017,” Asheville police said Tuesday in a news release.

Officers found a woman and a minor child at the business and were able to confirm their identities, police said. They said the woman, Heather Unbehaun, was wanted on an extradition warrant out of Illinois for child abduction.

Unbehaun was taken into custody and booked into the Buncombe County Detention Facility on a $250,000 secured bond, police said.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said the girl was 9 when Unehaun, her noncustodial mother, allegedly abducted her from South Elgin, Illinois, on July 5, 2017.

In its news release, the center included a statement from the girl’s father, identified only as “Ryan,” where he said he’s “overjoyed” that his daughter “is home safe.” He thanked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, South Elgin police and other law enforcement agencies for their efforts.

“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning,” he added.

The girl’s 2017 abduction was featured on the Netflix Unsolved Mysteries reboot, WLOS-TV reported.

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Girl allegedly abducted in Illinois by noncustodial mother found safe in North Carolina