8-Year-Old Girl Kidnapped From A Mall in 2018 Was Just Found Alive In Mexico

Wonderful news for this little girl’s family!

Way back in October 2018, the FBI reported a then 4-year-old Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez was abducted from a shopping mall in Vancouver, Washington. The authorities confirmed the child was kidnapped by her biological mother who had no custody rights during a scheduled visit supervised by the court. KPTV-TV identified the biological mother as Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez.

Aranza was in custody of the state when she was kidnapped by Lopez-Lopez after having been placed in foster care in 2017 following complaints of physical abuse. The girl was reportedly covered in large bruises and her birth mom was deemed a danger based on the abuse, her lack of participation in a mental health assessment, and her erratic behavior. She was granted twice-weekly supervised visitation, according to court records, and during one of these visits is when she abducted her daughter.

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In 2019 the FBI was able to locate Lopez-Lopez in Puebla, Mexico and they arrested her. Sadly, this didn’t lead to them finding Aranza because they didn’t know where she was at the time of the arrest and the mother refused to cooperate. It was believed she was safe with family in Columbia, but that has not been confirmed.

Lopez-Lopez was extradited back to Washington after her arrest where she was charged with second degree kidnapping, second degree robbery, and first degree custodial interference after pleading guilty in court. She is currently serving a 20 month sentence in connection to her daughter’s disappearance.

So only one question remained — where was Aranza?

Luckily, the FBI confirmed on Wednesday the now 8-year-old is alive and well nearly 5 years after her disappearance. They announced she was recovered in Michoacán, Mexico in February and escorted to an undisclosed location in the United States. Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said in a statement:

“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.”

It’s so great to hear Aranza has been found safe and that she’s doing alright. What do U think about this wild story, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below).

[Image via YouTube/FOX 13 Seattle/FBI]

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