Authorities Find 8-Year-Old Who Went Missing In 2018 And Return Her To The US, FBI Says

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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An American 8-year-old who went missing in 2018 was found in Mexico in February and safely returned to the U.S., according to a March 9 press release from the FBI in Seattle.

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez’s biological mother kidnapped her from a Vancouver, Washington, shopping mall in October 2018, according to the FBI. For more than four years, the agency worked with Mexican authorities to locate Aranza and safely return her to the U.S.

The agency issued a missing persons poster shortly after Aranza’s disappearance. Individuals who provided information leading to her recovery were offered a reward of up to $10,000. The poster has since been updated to read “recovered,” after investigators discovered she had been taken to Mexico and subsequently located her there.

Mexican authorities located Aranza in Michoacan, Mexico, and transported her back to the U.S., the FBI continued in the press release. Her exact location and other identifying information has been withheld by the agency for her safety.

“For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza,” special agent in charge Richard A. Collodi said of the case. “Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the U.S.” (RELATED: REPORT: Nashville SWAT Team Officer Kills Grammy Winner As He Allegedly Held His Wife, Daughter Hostage)

Other law enforcement agencies involved in Aranza’s recovery included the FBI’s legal attaché in Mexico City; the Vancouver Police Department; Washington state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families; Fiscalía General del Estado de Michoacán (FGE Michoacán); and the Instituto Nacional de Migración, according to the press release.