Kayla Unbehaun, who appeared on Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries, has been found alive after being recognised by a woman who had watched the show.
In 2017 Kayla had visited her mother, who had visitation rights but not full custody, and when her father went to pick her up the next day, he found she and her mother were missing.
A search to find Kayla was launched for years but the trail eventually went cold. Kayla’s case appeared on Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries in an episode titled Abducted by a Parent.
In April 2023, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progression picture to show of Kay could look like now, at 15 years old.
A store owner in North Carolina spotted Kayla by chance in a shopping centre and recognised her from the TV show. She called the police, who found Kayla and took her into protective custody.
Kayla’s father shared a message, celebrating the news of Kayla’s return.
“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. I want to thank the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted with her case,” he said.
“We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”
Netflix also shared the news on their social media channels and wrote: “An Unsolved Mysteries viewers has closed a case! A store owner in North Carolina recognised Kayla Unbehaun – who was abducted in 2017 by her non-custodial mother – from the roll call in volume three, episode nine. Kayla, now 15, is expected to return to her family in Illinois.”
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Featured image credit via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.