A young girl, Kayla Unbehaun, who was reportedly abducted by her mother in July 2017, was recently found as a result of her appearance on Netflix’s reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children confirmed that Kayla, who was nine years old when she was taken, has been located safely in Asheville, North Carolina. Her mother, Heather Unbehaun, who was suspected of abducting her from South Elgin, Illinois four years ago, has been taken into custody.
When Kayla was just nine, she was allegedly taken by her non-custodial mother, Heather. Local news reported that Kayla’s father went to collect his daughter from Heather’s house on July 5th, but discovered that both Heather and Kayla were gone. It’s believed that Heather had packed her car and left with Kayla the day before, on July 4th.
In the wake of her disappearance, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children disseminated an image of nine-year-old Kayla, along with an age-progressed photograph of her. A Facebook page was also set up to raise awareness about her case. Periodically, news articles about her vanishing were published in the local media.
Kayla’s appearance on Netflix’s reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries” played a crucial role in her rescue. A store owner, who had watched an episode of the series, recognized Kayla and immediately contacted the police to provide the information.
Following the tip, authorities apprehended Heather, and Kayla, who is now 15 years old, was placed under protective custody. The intervention by the store owner, prompted by Kayla’s appearance on the show, proved instrumental in ensuring her safe recovery.
Kayla’s father expressed immense joy and gratitude for her safe return, extending his thanks to the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and all the law enforcement agencies involved in her case. He also expressed appreciation for the supporters of the “Bring Kayla Home” Facebook page, whose efforts in spreading awareness were crucial.
Heather, Kayla’s mother, is currently in custody with a bond set at $250,000. Extradition to Illinois is pending.
While there will undoubtedly be a process of reconnecting and adjusting to the lost years, Kayla’s father emphasized the importance of privacy and allowed time for healing to begin. The focus now is on moving forward and rebuilding their lives together.