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Fullerton Girl Is Home in O.C.; Mom Still in Mexico

Times Staff Writer

A 12-year-old Fullerton girl allegedly kidnapped by her mother’s former boyfriend is back in Orange County, but her mother has been required to remain in Mexico after going there to rescue her, authorities said Monday.

Diana Karen Gama was in protective custody at Orangewood Children’s Home in Orange following the nearly monthlong ordeal that began Nov. 23 when her mother’s estranged boyfriend, Hermillo Ocampo Morales, allegedly kidnapped the girl after she’d been dropped off at school.

Family members brought the girl back, Fullerton police said. Her mother, however, is still in Mexico.

Guillermina Salmeron, 33, ignored advice from Fullerton police not to travel to Mexico to find Diana. According to Fullerton Police Sgt. Don Hughes, it was the department’s understanding “that she was not here legally.”

“We were worried, knowing immigration officials would not allow” her to come back because she was not a U.S. citizen, said Sgt. Linda King, a department spokeswoman. “We advised her to give us more time to work through our official government channels or protocol to secure the return of her daughter.”

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Salmeron apparently made the trip anyway following a tip that the girl had been seen with Morales in the state of Guerrero. And, as Fullerton police anticipated, she has not been allowed back into California. Salmeron is trying to get a temporary visa, King said.

“We understand the emotions involved,” she said. “First and foremost she is a mom, and her daughter was down there. We’re just grateful everything seemed to work out well.”

Fullerton police are working with Mexican authorities to secure the arrest and extradition of Morales on a variety of charges including kidnapping, King said.


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