Washington State Girl, 8, Missing Since 2018 Found in Mexico, FBI Says


Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez, who was then 4 years old, went missing in October 2018 in Vancouver, Washington.

An 8-year-old girl from Washington state who went missing in 2018 has been found in Mexico, according to the FBI.

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez, who was 4 years old when she went missing in October 2018 in Vancouver, Washington, was safely returned to the United States in February 2023 after being recovered in Michoacán, Mexico, CBS 21 reported.

Thanks to the help of Mexican authorities, they were able to locate and safely recover Aranza Ochoa Lopez in Michoacán.

On Wednesday, the FBI announced that not only was she found but has safely been brought to an undisclosed location in the United States.

“For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza,” Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said in a press release. “Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the U.S.”

The FBI said the child was kidnapped by her biological non-custodial mother from a Vancouver, Wash. shopping mall, according to NBC News.

The FBI issued a missing person poster and was able to determine Aranza had been taken to Mexico but did not have a way to recover her, according to CBS 21.

Her mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, was arrested in Vancouver in 2019, but Aranza remained in Mexico until her location was discovered recently, according to authorities.

Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, 23, through a Spanish interpreter, entered guilty pleas to second-degree kidnapping and robbery and first-degree custodial interference. She was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2021, according to The Spokesman Review.

“I feel bad about it. I’m sorry,” Lopez-Lopez told a judge at the time.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke said he was not convinced by her apology.

“You should not have taken her to a place where you no longer know where she’s at,” Stahnke said at the time of Lopez-Lopez’s sentencing.

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