Washington girl kidnapped in 2018 found alive in Mexico
03/09/2023 1:09 pm PST
VANCOUVER, Wash. (TCD) -- An 8-year-old girl who has been missing since 2018 was found alive in Mexico and returned to the United States.
According to the FBI, on Oct. 25, 2018, Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez’s biological mother took her from a mall in Vancouver and brought her south of the border. The girl’s mother was reportedly arrested in September 2019 in Puebla, Mexico.
The FBI said in a statement Wednesday, March 8, that Aranza was found in Michoacán, Mexico, and she was escorted to an undisclosed location in the U.S. in February.
According to The Columbian, Aranza was at the Vancouver Mall with her mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, during a supervised visit. Lopez-Lopez reportedly asked to take Aranza to the bathroom, then left the mall with her in a stolen car.
Lopez-Lopez pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery, and custodial interference charges in 2021 and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
The Columbian reports Aranza was placed into foster care in 2017 after she was found with bruises on her body and allegations of abuse.
Special Agent in Charge Richard Collodi said, "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."
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