Mother accused of abducting daughter six years ago turns herself in
The woman accused of abducting her daughter from an Illinois suburb six years ago has turned herself in, days after the girl was found safe in North Carolina and then reunited with her custodial father, local authorities said.
Heather Unbehaun, the mother of now-15-year-old Kayla Unbehaun, was being held at the Kane County Adult Justice Centre in Illinois without bond on an abduction charge, according to the jail.
Unbehaun was arrested Saturday on a fugitive warrant out of Illinois on kidnapping and child abduction charges and was held on a $US250,000 ($376,107) bond while she awaited extradition, Buncombe County, North Carolina, Deputy Clerk Cory Alexander told CNN on Tuesday.
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She bonded out Tuesday morning and was released, Asheville Police Department spokesperson Samantha Booth told CNN on Tuesday.
Kayla was nine when she was abducted by Unbehaun, from the Chicago suburb South Elgin, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said.
The girl's disappearance came after Unbehaun took her to a parade on July 4, 2017, according to John Vojta, an attorney for Kayla's custodial father, Ryan Iserka.
When Iserka went to pick up his daughter the next day, he was told Unbehaun took her on a camping trip and Unbehaun and Kayla never returned, Vojta told CNN.
A felony warrant for kidnapping was issued for Unbehaun on July 28, 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which helps families look for American kids who are taken by relatives or strangers or run away.
On Saturday evening, Kayla was spotted at a shop in Asheville by someone who recognised her from an episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries series about parental abductions, Booth told CNN.
That person notified a store employee, who then called the police, Booth said.
Iserka had won full custody of Kayla in early 2017, with Unbehaun allowed unsupervised "parenting time" visits, Vojta said.
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The year prior, the judge assigned to their custody case granted Kayla's father "sole discretion, to make all decisions regarding medical treatment and care for the minor child," according to court documents.
That decision came because, according to Vojta, Kayla's mother was "messing with the medical and health issues" for Kayla.
The child's parents shared custody of her until Iserka filed for full custody after Unbehaun moved to Georgia with Kayla, according to Vojta.
CNN reached out to the attorney representing Unbehaun, who declined to comment.
Speaking on Iserka's behalf before Unbehaun turned herself in on Wednesday, Vojta told CNN it was "very concerning that Heather was released on bond in North Carolina after she was a fugitive for six years".
Iserka connected with his daughter in North Carolina on Sunday, and they drove back to Illinois together, Vojta said.
He is overjoyed his daughter is home safe, he said in a statement through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, thanking the organisation and law enforcement agencies for spreading the word about the search for her.
"I also want to thank all of the followers on the 'Bring Kayla Home' Facebook page, who helped keep her story alive and were instrumental in spreading awareness," he said.
"We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning."
Unbehaun's next court date is set for Wednesday morning at the Kane County Judicial Centre, according to online jail records.
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