July 15th, 2010
02:25 AM ET

Missing girl found after almost 7 years

A California girl who had been missing for almost seven years was found Wednesday by police in Phoenix, Arizona, authorities said.

Amber Rose Nicklas had just turned a year old when she was abducted in September 2003.

She had been in the care of foster parents in Norwalk, California, when she was snatched by three of her aunts, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's Norwalk Station said.

Two of the aunts were caught at the time. The third got away with the child, said sheriff's spokesman Bill Evans.

The girl somehow ended up with a family in Phoenix that had no relation to her biological family, authorities said.

Authorities got a tip that Amber could be at a home in Phoenix and went there with a court order Wednesday afternoon.

When investigators tried to serve the court order, they found that a woman in the home had hidden the child in a shower under a pile of clothes and towels, said Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump.

Amber's identity had been changed, including her name and date of birth, police said.

"The child was in good physical condition; however, very frightened about today's events. She had also been withheld from schooling," Crump said.

Amber's real identity was confirmed through footprints, photographs and DNA swabs, police said.

The child, who is now 7, is in state custody in California and prosecutors will file charges, Crump said. - CNN's Nick Valencia and Sonya Hamasaki contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Arizona • California • Crime • Justice
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Berta

    I was a foster parent who was fortunate enough to be able to adopt the two children – - and their subsequent two siblings–. it was the second time for our first two children to be in foster care – and they were only 15 and 32 months old. not all foster parents are horror stories waiting to happen. I'm not saying there are not some kooks out there, but jeesh-if you think the system is horrible do something about it! get involved. Foster a child yourself and see the joys of watching they grow into great young people that contribute in a positive way to society. I refuse to believe that my situation is a once in a while good situation...

    July 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dr aly

    There must be more to this whole story, but likely the aunts didn't have the maturity to better decide where this baby
    should be than a family court judge did/would.
    On another note, I really admire all the foster parents who posted on here. You did/are doing a GREAT thing, and I really admire you.

    July 20, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Aaron

    CNN reports the news. Dumb duh dumb dumb dummmmmmmb.

    July 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FrankRicard

    Praise Jeebus...

    July 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Amy

    I wonder why the aunts choose to abduct the child and place her with a non-related family.
    I wonder about the aunts reason. Anyway I hope the child will have a good life and that she will get support and love in her life.

    July 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Erin

    Soo... she was in Foster care. Then removed from Foster care by relatives who then placed her in another home. And now after 7 yrs of being cared for by this family... she has now been "rescued" by the law and thrown back in the system to be bounced around in foster care again.

    YAY! Progress!

    July 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mama_of_6

    It would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the deepest ocean than to hurt a little one.

    How long have families been? How long have "family law courts," CPS, public schools and foster care been in existance? A whole lot of evil has come lately!

    July 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. doggsho

    Well, apparently the "aunts" didn't "care" enough to "ensure" the child's "schooling", so a big fat F- to them !

    July 15, 2010 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ocala

    The parents must be really screwed up? What were the Aunts trying to protect the child from? CNN go back out and get us some more information, you don't have a story yet.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. kh

    If the aunt's cared about the girl so much, and wanted her to stay in the family, why was she with another family in Phoenix and never sent to school!!?

    July 15, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    Ummm...and how 'bout you don't condemn the California courts before YOU look at the whole story. Just 'cuz they MIGHT be generally screwed up doesn't mean they've never gotten anything right. The hypocrisy of your post is staggering...

    July 15, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. john

    I agree

    July 15, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. George

    Excuse me? You can't blame the aunts for violating the law, kidnapping a one year old child, transporting that child across multiple state lines and delivering her into the hands of someone who is not a relation? Do you always ignore the law when you think it expedient?

    July 15, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. CourtSystemReformNOW

    I agree. OUR court system, not just California, is so messed up it's time for massive reforms. Lawyers have established an auction house "system", not a justice system – an auction MOST of us cannot afford to participate in. Therefore, OUR rights to due process are often too expensive to realize. TIME FOR REFORMS. Manage down lawyer legal techs compensation, install 21st-century process workflow improvement systems to manage the "system" – a sloth-like "system" designed to reward the dishonest attorney and judges who drag their feet as a means to EARN MORE $$$.

    The scary part, these dishonest lawyers who enrich themselves exploiting the "system" design flaws then buy elections to legislative and leadership positions – so they INFECT OUR entire "system".

    Vote leader, not lawyer legal tech at the polls this fall and send a clear message WE'VE HAD ENOUGH.

    That is my opinion.

    July 15, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. moondoggie

    How about the trauma to a child having to hide in a shower. You may be mad at the court system, but there is nothing right about how the story of this child is playing out.

    July 15, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
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