An Episode of Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries” was the reason now fifteen-year-old Kayla Unbehaun has been reunited with her father after being abd*ucted in 2017 by her mother, Heather Unbehaun.
Back on July 5, 2017, the then nine-year-old was ab*ducted from South Elgin, Illinois, after a scheduled visit with her mom. Heather did not have full custody of Kayla, and it had been during one of her weekly visitations that she fled with Kayla. Heather had told friends that she had a camping trip planned with Kayla, and neighbors recalled seeing her pack her vehicle with a bunch of things.
When Kayla’s father, Ryan Iserka, went to pick her up, the duo was no longer there.
Heather had expressed a desire to live off the grid and had already been in violation of their custody agreement when she took Kayla out of state without the court’s permission. A felony kidnapping warrant was issued for the pair, as well as Heather’s car, but they weren’t immediately located. Heather’s phone and all of her social media had been deactivated, and it seemed as though it had been a well-thought-out abd*uction.
For six years, Ryan Iserka worked tirelessly to find his daughter. Her cold case was briefly featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” in an episode dedicated to parental kidnapping cold cases. Her picture had only been on screen for four seconds, but it was enough for a local store owner to recognize the now teenager.
While at a shopping mall in Ashville, North Carolina, on May 13, 2023, Heather and Kayla were approached by mall security. When law enforcement arrived, the pair gave false names. The pair were detained until they were able to positively identify the pair. Heather was held in custody on a $250,000 bond, and Kayla was reunited with her father.
Ryan Iserka made this emotional statement to the media:
“I’m overjoyed that Kayla is home safe. I want to thank the South Elgin Police Department, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted with her case. I also want to thank all of the followers on the ‘Bring Kayla Home’ Facebook page, who helped keep her story alive and were instrumental in spreading awareness. We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.”
Heather Unbehaum is being extradited to Illinois, where she is expected to be charged with felony child abduc*tion.