By Alexandra Heilbron on May 17, 2023 | 18 Comments
Kayla Unbehaun, who was kidnapped almost six years ago, has been found safe after her photo was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. A store owner at a shopping center in Asheville, North Carolina recognized Kayla after watching the episode, which debuted on the streamer in November 2022.
Kayla was nine years old in 2017 when her father, Ryan Iserka, was granted full custody. Soon after, on July 5, 2017, her mother, Heather Unbehaun, abducted Kayla during an unsupervised court-ordered visitation at her home. Heather took Kayla to North Carolina where they lived until they were spotted at the Asheville shopping center.
Heather, 40, was arrested in Asheville on May 13 and charged with felony child abduction. Kayla, now 15, has been reunited with her father, his wife and her two daughters.
Ryan Iserka released the following statement on Tuesday: “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. We ask for privacy as we get to know each other again and navigate this new beginning.” ~Alexandra Heilbron
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Nothing worse than having your child abducted. Thank goodness for that tv show and the recognition done by the store owner. Bravo Zulu
As an old retired cop I never make/offer an opinion about situations like this unless I have info from both sides, and I say this because quite often there are two sides to every story. I just hope that the right parent has this kid now… maybe… hopefully.
I agree with retire cop. You never know til you hear both sides. Sometimes one person has the money to hire a really good attorney and that person ends up with the child. If the mother took really good care of her daughter all these years and they are close to each other, I feel sorry for both of them. But if the father is a good person than I feel sorry for him and his daughter for losing six years of their life together. I’m hoping and praying this turns out for the best
Interesting that she shares her mother’s last name and not her father’s, they probably weren’t married or even together when Kayla was born. And if the mother didn’t want him in Kayla’s life, there was probably a reason. I hope the judge goes easy on the mother.
The girl is now 15 and has her own voice, I hope it is heard.
Hope so too!
It is strange that people can assume or speculate that there must have been good reason for this Mother to kidnap her daughter and hide her from the Father for 5 years. The Father was granted full custody so that was where the other side was heard. The Court found reasons why this Mother should not get joint custody or shared custody. Having been in a family where a niece was kidnapped by her Mother who disappeared for three years from the Father who won joint & shared custody – it is devastating to the Father’s side of the family. Shame on those who without one shred of evidence presume that something might be wrong with that Father.
No such thing as a mother “kidnapping” her own flesh ‘n blood child!!! I’ve got news. Men — do not have children…..WOMEN DO!! Most men want to take a child from their mothers because they are the control freak kind —- period. The child is a tool to get back at her for whatever reason. Men have nothing to do with bringing a child into the world. It’s the same night of a role in the hay as any other night and he has no clue the woman is pregnant unless she chooses to tell him. THAT is the only part he took in bringing about a pregnancy event and in these days that can happen without any of his help at all — the father is just as useful as a petrie dish. The woman gets to choose if he can have any part in hers or the child’s life at all. She is the one who carries that child within her body for the full 9 month term of pregnancy. SHE is the one who has to go without certain foods & alcohol and has to watch her every step so she doesn’t fall & injure the child. SHE is the one who goes thru grueling agony delivering the child into the world and SHE is the one who nurses it when it arrives. SHE is the one who gets up with it in the night every time it cries. SHE is the one who nurtures the child and SHE is the reason that child goes to school every day in clean clothes, has dinner to eat three times a day and SHE is the reason that child has a clean bed to sleep in. I’m very sure this 15 yr old girl doesn’t have horror stories about what living with mother was like. A girl that age can effectively run away if life is so hard to cope with. That woman is in EVERY WAY that girl’s mother — the father was merely a sperm donor. Any time a woman decides to leave with her own child it should never be labeled “abduction” — it is HER CHILD.
Clearly you have unaddressed issues with men, Carrol. Please seek therapy at once.
Carrol, you know the dads can also make sure they have clean clothes, meals, etc.
That is a rather misogynistic view, that the mother has to do all the work.
Also, the rest of your rant makes me hope you don’t have dependents of your own.
Carrol needs to see a shrink. She hates men for some reason.
You men have problems seeing the truth in front of your faces. It’s true that most of you think you should be waited on hand & foot. You are NOT the ones making meals for your children or doing their laundry. As someone mentioned above, men CAN do meals & laundry as well but you know full well —- THEY DON’T.
Christine enjoys being a doormat.
My husband cooks, does laundry, took the kids to school, got up with them in the night. At a couple of times in our lives, I had the more demanding job and he took over most of what needed to be done at home. If the man refuses to be a real partner, time to move on.
Sharon — you have one of the few men who will help out — lucky you, but you know full well that is not the norm in most relationships. My original point was that it should never be called “abduction” when a woman is on the run with her own child. Abduction is when a stranger steals someone else’s child. A family dispute; custody disagreement; divorce; separation — none of those variations have anything to do with abduction. Abduction is a very strong, over-used, misused word. The mother has disobeyed a court order — she has NOT abducted her own child. Nothing was mentioned about that mother ever abusing the child. Chances are that the guy was granted custody because he makes more money than the mother does — the child was never in any danger with her mother.
This is why God ordained marriage to be a life-long commitment, made in front of family and friends. Children have a God-given right to be born to married parents.
I worked in the courts for 30 years. I learned a lot about relationships. 1 is that both sides believe they are right. 2 is that the truth is in the middle of their stories. 3 the evidence presented aides the Judege to make a decision.sx It doesn’t matter who has a reasonable or good attorney. It is the court’s responsibility to verify any mental illness or abuse by having custody evaluations. Believe me, I have seen women lie for years. Create abuse excuses, even going so far as to claim a child from the second marriage was abusing their child. Sometimes it takes years for the truth to come out, often when the child is old enough to state their story. Men and Women do bad things and are bad parents. But, they are good. The court gave him custody. There had to be valid reasons. For anyone to second guess that is bringing in their own experiences. Mom should be accountable for her actions. The Man may be forgiving towards the mom. WE DON’T KNOW the facts and bad acts of this case.
The sad part about men getting custody of the woman’s child that he married is that HE is not even capable of caring for it. The child ends up getting raised by HIS PARENTS. If he is not capable of raising the child as a parent on his own, he should never be granted custody. His parents are NOT the parents of the child in question. The man in this particular story is already living with another woman and her children. No doubt the person who will be raising this child is that woman — not the male parent. Men always pass the parenting responsibility over to someone else because — as mentioned before — he actually has no more use than a petrie dish.
When I was a child I had a horribly abusive mother and my father was awarded custody after their divorce. My mother kidnapped me and the months-long experience was a terrible and traumatic experience of abuse. It was an absolute nightmare. Thankfully my mother was arrested and I was returned to my loving father.