8-year-old girl who went missing in 2018 found in Mexico
The girl was found four years later in February of this year in Michoacan by Mexican authorities. She was escorted back to the U.S. by FBI special agents
March 14, 2023 8:52am
Updated: March 14, 2023 8:52am
An 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a mall in Washington in 2018 was found in Mexico, the FBI announced on Wednesday.
Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez was last seen when she was four years old at a mall during a supervised visit with her biological mother in Vancouver, Washington in October 2018.
The mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez asked to go to the restroom at the mall with her daughter. Instead, however, they fled to a stolen vehicle. Lopez’s mother was arrested one year later in Puebla Mexico, but the young girl remained missing.
The FBI, who worked with the Vancouver Police in Washington and law enforcement officials in Mexico, even offered a reward of $10,000 for any information leading to her location.
The girl was found four years later in February of this year in Michoacan by Mexican authorities. She was escorted back to the U.S. by FBI special agents.
"For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza," said Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI's Seattle field office. "Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the U.S."
Lopez had been placed in foster care after complaints that her mother abused her. After her arrest, Lopez-Lopez pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping and robbery, as well as first-degree custodial interference. She was sentenced to 20 months in prison.