A California woman who was kidnapped in Mexico while walking her dog eight months ago is back in the US after her captors released her.
Monica De Leon Barba, 30, of San Mateo, California arrived back in the US on Friday, the FBI announced, after spending eight months in captivity.
She has been reunited with her dog and her brother in the Bay Area.
“We can finally close this chapter in our lives and work on the long road of healing we have ahead,” her brother, Gustavo De Leon, said in a Facebook post.
She returned home 10 days after her 30th birthday
The woman was kidnapped in November while walking her dog in Jalisco, Mexico.
In April, the FBI released surveillance footage of her kidnapping.
Three cars passed by before her captors jump out and force her into one of the vehicles while her dog ran around the street.
The FBI offered a $40,000 reward for any tips regarding her whereabouts, as they believed she was still alive.
No one has been arrested or charged with her kidnapping since her return home. The federal agency is still investigating her captors.
“The FBI investigation is far from over, but we can now work this case knowing an innocent victim is reunited with her family,” Special Agent Robert K Tripp said in a statement on Saturday. “For the past eight months, FBI personnel in California and Mexico have worked tirelessly with the family and with partners here and in Mexico. Our relief and joy at the safe return of Monica is profound.”
Tripp acknowledged the “investigation is far from over,” but thanked the Mateo community for its endless support in helping to find Barba.
“They never forget Monica, and neither did we,” he said in the statement.
At the time, the FBI believed the attack was targeted and she was being held hostage.
“The hostage takers have been in contact with her family and the FBI is working very closely with her family and with authorities in Mexico to bring her home safely,” Tripp said at the time.
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