Missing Girl Found After Nearly Six Years

Kayla Unbehaun, has been found after nearly six years missing.
Credit: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

A missing girl has been found after nearly six years.

According to police in South Elgin, Illinois, the last time then-nine-year-old Kayla Unbehaun was seen was on July 4, 2017.

The case attracted significant attention and concern, even capturing the interest of Netflix’s docuseries Unsolved Mysteries which delves into unexplained cases, from crime to paranormal events.

Thankfully, Kayla, now 15, has finally been found.

Learn more about the case of Kayla Unbehaun in the clip below…

The circumstances surrounding Kayla’s disappearance were deeply troubling.

Her father, Ryan, had arrived at her mother Heather Unbehaun’s residence on July 5 to pick her up, only to discover that she was nowhere to be found.

At that time, Ryan had full custody of Kayla, while Heather only had visitation rights.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) had been actively involved in the search for Kayla, sharing pictures online and providing age-progressed edits to give an idea of what she might look like as time passed.

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Despite these efforts, the years passed without any significant breakthrough in locating the missing girl.

However, this past weekend brought a glimmer of hope when a shopkeeper – who had learned about Kayla’s story through the Netflix series – spotted her at a shopping centre in Asheville, North Carolina.

Acting swiftly, the shopkeeper immediately contacted the local police, leading to Kayla’s discovery.

The now-teenage girl was placed in protective custody, while her mother, Heather, was promptly arrested.

Kayla Unbehaun found safe poster
Kayla Unbehaun, missing for nearly six years, has been found safe. Credit: NCMEC

Heather currently awaits extradition, with a bail set at $250,000.

The Kate County State’s Attorney has already approved one charge of child abduction against Heather Unbehaun, but it remains uncertain if additional charges will follow.

Expressing her appreciation for the vigilance of the shopkeeper, Lt Diana Loveland of the Asheville Police Department says: “It is unusual but it’s good that when someone does suspect that they recognize someone, no matter how old the story might be, that they are not afraid to give us a call so we can come and investigate.”

The news of Kayla’s discovery has been met with immense joy and relief.

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The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has taken to social media to share the update, stating their excitement that Kayla Unbehaun had been ‘found safe’ in North Carolina.

Ryan, Kayla’s father, has also conveyed his overwhelming joy and gratitude through a statement released by NCMEC.

He says: “I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe.

“I want to thank @ElginPDFD, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted with her case.

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

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.