diaz missing poster
An age-progressed photo of Diaz produced by The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and used on missing posters. The girl, taken by her father in 2007, was returned to her mother this week. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Alondra Díaz' kidnapping was not the work of an anonymous predator but the consequence of a custody dispute between her parents. Alondra's father Reynaldo Díaz, who is Mexican, fled the U.S. after picking her up in 2007 for what was supposed to be a short visit. Alondra's mother Dorotea Garcia, who lives in the U.S. had primary legal custody of the the girl. She will be reunited with her daughter this week after 8 years following pressure on the father to return Alondra. The handoff was reportedly negotiated with the help of Juan Manuel Estrada, president of FIND, a Mexico-based organization that advocates for kidnapped and missing children.

“At the beginning, [Mr. Díaz] was reluctant,” Estrada said but eventually “he voluntarily agreed to return the girl,” adding that Mr. Díaz is “a hard-working father who has for many years treated [his daughter] with love and care.”

The handoff took place in Jalisco, Mexico on Monday morning, according to Univision. Alondra is being taken care of by relatives for the next few days as officials prepare paperwork to send her to her mother, a resident of Houston, Texas.

The Díaz case made international headlines in April when another young girl named Alondra Luna Nuñez was misidentified as the kidnapping victim, taken from her own family and then sent the U.S. for a week. Some sources report that Ms. Garcia identified Alondra Luna in person in Guanajuato, Mexico. The case was further complicated by things that the girls had in common, including aunts and uncles, scars, their age and their name. The order, initiated by Interpol, was reportedly executed poorly by local officials, who ignored family documents proving her real identity. The girl was returned to the U.S. after a DNA test showed she was not related to Ms. Garcia.

“My intention was never to hurt [Alondra Luna] and I believe that I tried to repair whatever harm that I’ve done to her. If [her parents] were suffering during those four days that she was gone, they should put themselves in my place, where I’ve been suffering for eight years,” Garcia said, according to Univision.

It’s unclear if the recent media frenzy over the falsely identified Alondra Luna Nuñez caused Mr. Díaz' decision. It's also unclear if he will be extradited to face any kidnapping charges in the U.S. In an interview with Univision, Alondra Díaz defends her father's actions and says that she wants to spend time with both of her parents.

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