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Missing Girl Featured on Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries' Found Alive in North Carolina 6 Years After Abduction

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Source: Athens-Clarke County Police Department Facebook

May 16 2023, Published 6:00 p.m. ET

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A chance encounter provided closure for an Illinois family. A missing girl featured on the Netflix series Unsolved Mysteries was found alive in North Carolina six years after she was abducted, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Kayla Unbehaun, 15, of South Elgin, Illinois, was only 9 years old when she went missing in 2017.

At the time of her disappearance, Kayla was under the care of her mother, Heather Unbehaun, 40, who was a non-custodial parent.

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Source: GoFundMe

On Saturday, Kayla and her mother were recognized by a Plato's Closet employee in Asheville, North Carolina.

According to NBC Chicago, Asheville PD stated that the retail worker contacted emergency services after she noticed that the girl looked familiar from "published media" about her missing person's case.

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Source: Athens-Clarke County Police Department Facebook

Heather Unbehaun

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Police responded to the employee's call and subsequently arrested the missing girl's mother. According to arrest records, Heather was taken into custody on a fugitive charge.

The mother is expected to be extradited to Northern Illinois for prosecution. Kayla's father, Ryan Iskerka, issued a statement on the dramatic ordeal.

"I'm overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. I want to thank the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted with her case," Iskerka said in a statement on Monday. "We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning."

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According to the GoFundMe page set up by her father, Kayla's case began around July 4, 2017, when she was last seen with her mother at a Fourth of July parade.

The next day, when Iskerka was scheduled to meet with Heather to pick up his daughter, whom he had primary custody of, the pair failed to show up.

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Source: Athens-Clarke County Police Department Facebook
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When Heather didn't meet Iskerka for the court-ordered exchange, the police were contacted and a missing persons report for Kayla was filed.

Police interviews claimed that Heather was last seen packing her car — and her family was under the impression she was going to Wisconsin for a camping trip, but was expected to meet with Iskerka for the custody exchange.

Kayla and Heather's images were featured on the Netflix show that highlighted parent abduction cases.

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