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8-year-old girl missing since 2018 found

Federal authorities say missing 8-year-old girl from Washington State who had been kidnapped by her biological mother for over four years was recently found in Mexico.

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez was safely returned to the US in February after being located by local authorities in Michoacán, the FBI said on Wednesday.

Special agents escorted her back to the US to a location that is not being disclosed due to privacy concerns, the FBI said.

The FBI said no further information on the case will be released.

Aranza, then 4, was kidnapped on October 25, 2018, from a shopping mall in Vancouver, Washington, the FBI said.

She was on a court-supervised visit with her biological, non-custodial mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, when she was abducted, police said at the time.

The mother was taken into custody in September of 2019 in Puebla, Mexico.

Aranza’s exact whereabouts were unknown, but it is believed she was in Mexico, the FBI said.

Lopez-Lopez was later sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2021 after pleading guilty to second-degree kidnapping, robbery and first-degree custodial interference, the Columbian reported.

The FBI had been offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that led to the recovery of Aranza.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas