Missing girl who was kidnapped in 2018 is found and returned home
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Featured Image Credit: FBI
An eight-year-old girl who had been missing since 2018 has been found and returned home.
Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez was kidnapped from a shopping mall in Vancouver, Canada, by her biological mum on 25 October 2018, according to the FBI.
But in February this year, the girl was found safe and well in Michoacán, Mexico, and was later transported back to her family in the US.
On the day that Lopez disappeared in 2018, she'd had a supervised visit with her mum, the FBI confirmed to CBS News.
When Mexican authorities were able to safely locate Lopez in the state in Western Mexico, special agents then escorted her back to the US.
However, her location is not currently being disclosed in the US due to safety concerns, after Lopez was deemed as a missing person for over four years.
And the FBI also said that 'no additional information' surrounding Lopez would be released, as they said that her safety was 'of utmost importance'.
However, FBI agents did not stop holding out hope in finding the little girl and every effort had been tried to try and find the youngster.
Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said in a statement released on Wednesday (8 March): "For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza.
"Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the U.S."
After the kidnap, the FBI issued a missing person poster and quickly determined that Lopez had been taken to Mexico.
Her biological mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, was taken into custody in September 2019 in Pueblo, a city in east-central Mexico.
But Lopez was still yet to be found, so the search for her continued.
To help with their very difficult search, the FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information that may help them with their search.
They also worked with the Vancouver Police in Washington and law enforcement in Mexico on this very complicated investigation.
In 2021, the mother pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping, robbery and first-degree custodial interference, according to local newspaper, The Columbian.
The publication also stated that she had received a 20-month prison sentence.