With missing children stories like that of 7-year-old Kyron Horman in Portland, Oregon, and 17-year-old Norma Lopez in Moreno Valley, California, the safe recovery of 7-year-old Amber Niklas comes as welcome news. The nearly 8-year-old child was abducted in 2003 in Norwalk, California, from her foster home by three of her aunts, who were juveniles at the time. She had just turned 1-year-old. Although two of the women were captured and arrested, one remained at large and Amber Niklas remained missing. According to CNN, on Wednesday, after receiving a tip, authorities found the child living with a woman in Phoenix, Arizona.
Phoenix Police, members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and FBI agents arrived at the woman’s home with a court order obtained after receiving a tip that the missing child was at a Phoenix home, found Amber Niklas hiding under a pile of clothes and towels in the shower, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump.
Crump stated, “The child was in good physical condition; however, very frightened about today’s events. She had also been withheld from schooling.”
It is as yet unknown how the girl came to be with the family in Phoenix. Her identity had been altered, investigators said.
Amber Rose Niklas was subsequently positively identified with footprints, photos, and DNA swabs. She was placed in the custody of the state of California. Sgt. Crump revealed that prosecutors would file charges.
Amber Niklas’ at large aunt remains unaccounted for.
Amber Niklas’ case reflects the greater portion of abductions, which involve family members. Of all missing children, statistics indicate that family abductions make up around 7 percent (roughly 56,500 cases, according to a 2002 Department of Justice missing children’s report).
Missing children cases like Amber Niklas also hold out hope to family, friends, and investigators that search for the missing, such as in the Kyron Horman and Norma Lopez cases. The search and investigation into the 7-year-old Portland, Oregon, boy’s disappearance entered it’s seventh week Friday. The second-grader disappeared without a trace on June 4 and was supposedly last seen by his stepmother, Terri Moulton Horman, at his elementary school’s science fair. Although intense scrutiny has centered on the stepmother and there has been speculation of a possible kidnapping, authorities have as yet not named a person of interest or suspect in the case.
Norma Lopez went missing in Moreno Valley, California, the day after Amber Niklas was found. While walking home from a summer school class Thursday morning, evidence in a nearby field indicated to police that Norma Lopez was kidnapped. Searches have turned up little or nothing and Riverside Sheriff’s Department are looking for a newer model green SUV or pickup truck that was seen in the vicinity around the time of the 17-year-old’s disappearance.