Sabrina Allen, a Texas girl who was allegedly kidnapped by her mother more than a decade ago, was found safe in Mexico on Tuesday, ending a 12-year manhunt that was marked by several near misses, authorities said on Wednesday.
Sabrina Allen, who was last seen by her father when she was 4 years old in April of 2002, was found safe in a town outside Mexico City around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by Klein Investigations & Consulting, the private investigation firm representing her dad, Greg Allen.
The girl's mother, 44-year-old Dara Marie Llorens, was arrested and extradited late Tuesday night to the United States, where she was charged with aggravated kidnapping, according to an
"I am overjoyed that Sabrina has been found alive and is safe," Greg Allen said in a statement. "Our entire family would like to thank the investigators that made his happen."
Sabrina is now 17 years old and appeared to be in good health, but she is receiving treatment at a Texas medical facility, according to the statement from Klein Investigations.
Federal investigators claim Llorens was spending a weekend with her daughter in 2002, but failed to bring her home. Llorens and Greg Allen had finalized a divorce agreement in December of 2000, according to an arrest affidavit, and Allen had full custody of his daughter.
Nearly 10 days after Sabrina first disappeared the FBI investigation determined that Llorens had fled the country. Police closed in on the missing girl several times, but Llorens and Sabrina "assumed new identities" and her mother managed to evade capture, the FBI said.
But on Tuesday, investigators with the Austin Police Department, the state department of public safety, the FBI and the U.S. Marshal's Service managed to track Llorens to Tlaxcala, roughly 75 miles outside of Mexico.
In its statement, Klein Investigations said Llorens had been under surveillance for nearly two weeks after she was spotted by a confidential informant working for the firm.
Austin Police Detective J.J. Schmidt, who became involved in the case earlier this year, told the Los Angeles Times that Llorens may have changed her own appearance and Sabrina's on more than one occasion while in Mexico.
Schmidt said Greg Allen was completely dedicated to the search for his daughter, traveling to Mexico on multiple occasions.
"He's gone over to Mexico to spend time, to learn the culture, learn the area, learn the language," Schmidt told The Times.
While police believe Lloren and her daughter spent most of the last 12 years in Mexico, it wasn't clear if they traveled anywhere else or if Sabrina ever tried to escape.
Schmidt said Greg Allen and his daughter have yet to be reunited.
"Obviously the girl is going through a lot of emotions right now, this is probably very confusing and there's no telling what she's been told over the past 12 years," Schmidt said.
Representatives for Klein Investigations did not immediately return calls seeking comment.