Illinois Girl Abducted 6 Years Ago Found Safe After Store Clerk Recognizes Her From 'Unsolved Mysteries'

Missing Girl Found
Kayla Unbehaun was 9, left, when she was reported missing by her father. At right is an age-progression image from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.Handout/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Kayla Unbehaun was 9 when her non-custodial mother allegedly kidnapped her in Illinois. Now 15, the girl was found safe after being recognized from an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries," police said.

An Illinois girl allegedly kidnapped by her non-custodial mother six years ago was found safe hundreds of miles away after she was recognized from an episode of the Netflix series "Unsolved Mysteries," authorities said.

Kayla Unbehaun, now 15, was 9 when her father reported her missing in the Chicago suburb of South Elgin. She was last seen on July 4, 2017, as her mother strapped their belongings on the hood of her car, the girl's family said. 

Heather Unbehaun was supposed to return Kayla to her father the next day, but never showed up, the father told police. A kidnapping warrant was issued for Heather Unbehaun, who had recently lost a bitter custody fight with the child's dad, Ryan Iskerka, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

For six long years, Kayla's father and others searched for her. On Saturday evening, the girl was spotted with her mother in a secondhand clothing store in Asheville, North Carolina, by someone who recognized Kayla from a November episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."

A store employee phoned police, who arrived and arrested Heather Unbehaun, who posted $250,000 bail on Tuesday and is awaiting an extradition hearing on July 11, according to online records.

Kayla was placed in the care of social workers and was picked up by her father the next day. She has returned to Illinois, authorities said.

“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe," her father said in a statement released by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children." "We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”

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