Girl, 8, Found Alive 4 Years After Vanishing

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez had last been seen with her biological mother in 2018
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2023 2:00 AM CST
Girl, 8, Found Alive 4 Years After Vanishing
A poster for Lopez.   (FBI)

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez vanished during a supervised visit with her mother, who did not have custody of her, at a Washington state shopping mall in 2018, when she was 4. A year later, her mother was arrested in Mexico, but the little girl was not found—until now. The FBI announced Wednesday that Lopez, now 8, had been found safe in Mexico, the Columbian reports. Special agents from the bureau brought the girl back to the US; her location is not being disclosed, CBS News reports.

"For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza," says an agent. "Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the US." Lopez had been in foster care since 2017 when she disappeared, due to allegations of abuse against her mother. Authorities say the girl's mother asked to take her to the restroom at the mall and then fled to a stolen vehicle, ultimately taking her to Mexico, ABC News reports. She pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping, robbery, and first-degree custodial interference and was in 2021 sentenced to 20 months behind bars. Local authorities in Mexico were the ones to find the girl, for whom the FBI had been offering a $10,000 reward. (More missing child stories.)

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