North Carolina Store Owner Recognizes Missing Girl from Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries,' Mother Arrested

Kayla Unbehaun
Kayla Unbehaun when she was 9 years old (left) and her mother, Heather Unbehaun's mugshot following her arrest. Twitter

A girl abducted by her mother six years ago has been found safe in North Carolina after a store owner recognized her from watching her story on the Netflix show "Unsolved Mysteries."

On Monday, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reported that Kayla Unbehaun, who had been missing from Illinois since 2017 and was featured on the reboot of the Netflix show, was located in Asheville.

Store Owner Alerted Authorities After Recognizing the Girl from Netflix Series

"Kayla was only 9 years old when she was abducted by her non-custodial mother, Heather Unbehaun from South Elgin, Illinois on July 5, 2017," the organization alleged in a tweet.

NBC 5 and ABC 7 Chicago reported that Kayla was found after the owner of a Plato's Closet in Asheville, N.C., recognized the girl from an episode of Netflix's "Unsolved Mysteries" show released last November.

The store owner called the police, who then arrested the girl's mother. Heather E. Unbehaun, 40, was arrested on May 13 on Westgate Parkway. Police confirmed that Unbehaun is Kayla's mother. She now faces child abduction charges, according to WGN-TV in Chicago. She was released on bond Tuesday, WLOS-TV reports.

Kayla Disappeared After Going on a Camping Trip with Her Mother

Kayla was reported missing in the summer of 2017 when her mother allegedly took her on a camping trip and the two never returned, according to WGN.

Kayla's father, Ryan Iserka, was scheduled to pick his daughter up from Heather's home in Wheaton, Ill., after the trip. Heather did not have rights to Kayla's custody, according to the outlet.

"It was discovered that all of Heather's social media had been canceled and her phone turned off," Iserka previously wrote on a GoFundMe page that raised thousands of dollars to help search for his daughter. "As far as we know, no one has been able to reach her or has talked to her since the 4th of July [in 2017]."

NBC reports Kayla was placed in the care of North Carolina Division of Social Services after being discovered this weekend and will soon be reunited with her family in Illinois.

"I'm overjoyed that Kayla is home safe," Unbehaun's father Ryan Iserka said in a statement, shared via the NCMEC organization. "I want to thank [the Elgin, Ill., police and fire departments], 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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