Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Missing 9-year-old Girl Found Safe After Six Years

Kayla Unbehaun was just nine when her mother, Heather Unbehaun, who did not have custody of the child, took her from her father’s home in South Elgin, Illinois, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Kayla and Heather’s whereabouts have been unknown up until earlier this week when a customer shopping at Plato’s Closet in Asheville recognized the pair after seeing them in the media. They immediately alerted the police.

kayla unbehaun and father
Kayla with her father Ryan Iskerka prior to her abduction in 2017

Kayla’s abduction was one of the stories featured in the Netflix documentary series “Unsolved Mysterious”, which came out last year. Her case was included in an episode that discussed parental abductions.

The 40-year-old mother was subsequently arrested by local police. She is currently being held on a $225,000 bond and will be extradited to Illinois, where she will be charged with at least one count of child abduction by the Kane County State’s Attorney Office.

Kayla, who is now 15 years old, is currently taken care of by the North Carolina Department of Social Services.

heather unbehaun
Kayla’s mother, 40-year-old Heather Unbehaun, has been taken into custody by North Carolina police

Back in 2017, when the abduction took place, Kayla primarily lived with her father, Ryan Iskerka, while her mother Heather only had visitation rights. According to sources. he had gone to an address provided by Heather, only to realize that she had packed bags and left with Kayla the day prior.

In an emotional statement, Ryan stated that he’s overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. He also thanked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the South Elgin Police Department for helping with her case. He also took the opportunity to thank the followers of the “Bring Kayla Home” Facebook page, who helped bring awareness to her story.

kayla unbehaun
An age-progressed photo of her (right) was released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

During the period Kayla was missing, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progression picture of her.

Just earlier this year, on January 5th, Ryan wrote a tribute to his daughter for her 15th birthday on the Facebook page.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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