Girl, 8, kidnapped from Washington mall in 2018 found alive in Mexico

Aranza Lopez  (FBI)
Aranza Lopez (FBI)

A girl who was kidnapped from a Washington state mall in 2018 has been found alive in Mexico.

Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez was four-years-old when she was last seen on a supervised visit with her biological mother at the mall in Vancouver, Washington.

Her mother was arrested in 2019 in Puebla, Mexico, but the youngster, who is now eight, had remained missing until she was found in Michoacán, Mexico, in February.

She has now been returned to the US, FBI officials said.

“For more than four years, the FBI and our partners did not give up on Aranza,” said Richard A Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office.

“Our concern now will be supporting Aranza as she begins her reintegration into the US.”

Her mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, received a 20-month prison sentence in January 2021 after pleading guilty to second-degree kidnapping and robbery and first-degree custodial interference in Clark County Superior Court.

The child had been placed in foster care in 2017 following complaints that her mother had abused her.

She was granted twice-weekly visits with her daughter and on one of those asked to take her daughter to a restroom in the mall. She then reportedly fled with the girl and escaped in a car driven by an accomplice.