Girl found after six years missing when store worker recognised her from Netflix show
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A girl was found six years after she was kidnapped because someone recognised her from a Netflix TV show.
In that show, viewers heard how Kayla disappeared from her home state of Illinois in 2017, along with her mother, who she had been visiting for July 4.
The day after the visit, Kayla’s dad, who had full custody of her, went to pick her up, but found both mother and daughter missing.
He got the police involved and a massive search operation was launched, but Kayla wasn't able to be located.
However, her dad didn’t forget and started up a Facebook page to help find her.
In the last month, the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an aged-up photo showing what Kayla might look like, which eventually led to a sighting more than 600 miles away in North Carolina.
And the owner of a shop in Asheville recognised Kayla in a shopping centre from the series and reported the sighting. They called police, who took her into protective custody.
Her mother was arrested and charged with one count of child abduction, according to the Kane County State Attorney’s Office.
Her bail has been set at $250,000 and she is due to appear in court on 11 July in North Carolina.
The NCMEC – an organisation dedicated to the search for missing kids – released a statement from Kayla’s dad, who said: “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,
“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”
In January 2023, he posted a message in the Facebook group wishing Kayla a happy birthday and said that he longed to see her again.
The message said: “Happy 15th birthday, Kayla.
“I love you and miss you so much.
“I can’t wait for the day that I get to see you again, hoping each day I wake up will be the day,
“It could never come soon enough.
“I think of you every day hoping and praying that you are safe, happy and that you will come back into my life soon.”
Now, six years later, and with the help of a true crime enthusiast, his wish has come true.