ASHEVILLE, N.C. (TCD) — Police have arrested a mother who allegedly kidnapped her daughter several years ago in Illinois and ran off with her to North Carolina.
According to the Asheville Police Department, on May 13 at 7:26 p.m., officers were called to a business at 26 Westgate Parkway to investigate a kidnapping. Someone at the business reportedly told police she recognized a woman suspected of kidnapping a child in 2017, and police spoke with the woman and juvenile.
Asheville Police contacted the South Elgin Police Department in Illinois, who confirmed Heather Unbehaun was wanted on a warrant for child abduction. Police arrested her and booked her into the Buncombe County Detention Facility on $250,000 secured bond.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children commented on the discovery, saying Kayla Unbehaun was 9 years old when Heather allegedly abducted her out of South Elgin.
Kayla’s dad, Ryan Iserka, told the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in a 2019 video that he and Heather went to court over custody, but she “couldn’t follow the order that we agreed upon in court. She repeatedly had not followed what it said.”
Heather had weekly visitation rights after he won full custody in 2017, but things changed July 5, 2017, when Heather and Kayla failed to return home from a camping trip.
Iserka said in a statement, “I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. I want to thank the Elgin Police Department, 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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