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Missing Girl Found 6 Years After Disappearance


Kayla Unbehaun is shown here, left, around the time of her disappearance in 2017. On the right is an age-progressed photo of her to 14 years. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

A woman who allegedly abducted her daughter from a suburb in Illinois six years ago has surrendered herself to authorities. This comes shortly after the safe recovery of the girl in North Carolina and her reunion with her custodial father.

Heather Unbehaun, the mother of 15-year-old Kayla Unbehaun, was arrested on Saturday based on a fugitive warrant from Illinois, and her bond was set at $250,000. She has since bonded out.

Heather Unbehaun

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported that Kayla was abducted at the age of 9 by Unbehaun after attending a parade in South Elgin, a Chicago suburb, on July 4, 2017.

Following that report, the girl never returned from a supposed camping trip Unbehaun had taken her on.

A felony warrant for kidnapping was issued for Unbehaun on July 28, 2017.

Kayla was located in Asheville, North Carolina, after someone at a Plato’s Closet store recognized her from an episode of the show “Unsolved Mysteries” on Netflix, which focused on parental abductions.

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The individual alerted a store employee, who then contacted the police.

Prior to the abduction, Kayla’s father, Ryan Iserka, had been awarded full custody of her in early 2017, with Unbehaun granted unsupervised visitation rights.

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The court documents indicated that Iserka had sole authority over medical decisions for the child due to concerns about Unbehaun’s handling of her mental health issues.

The custody arrangement changed when Unbehaun relocated to Georgia with Kayla, prompting Iserka to file for full custody.

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