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.

Post by:
Filed under: Arizona • California • Crime • Justice
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. A Mom Myself

    I agree with many of the post-ers here, much information is missing. The fact this child was with foster parents to begin with is telling. Courts will attempt to keep a child with their family at all costs – unless the child is in physical danger or unsafe conditions, then they are removed. As she was with foster parents, this shows there was reason to have her removed from the custody of family. Apparently there was no one able or willing to step up and take responsibility for her so off she went to foster care.

    Nothing in the article states where she was kidnapped from, for those saying "Chuck E Cheese", do you have more information then the rest of us, or are you just assuming? Obviously the two aunts that were caught refused to say where the child was as she remained missing for 7 years.

    Contrary to what seems to be believed, those who had the child did not seem very eager to return her to the foster parents – if you change name & DOB, you don't want to be found. Hiding the child in a shower under laundry definitely indicates the desire to keep her hidden.

    For those saying she was home schooled – where are the records? If you choose to home school your child, they have to be enrolled in a certified program and records are kept. It would appear this child has no formal education – whether at home or in a school setting. How will she get that time back?

    The aunts and the people hiding her should be charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint and whatever else the authorities come up with. If this child was hidden in this manner, chances are she as not had the opportunity to socialize much with other children/adults. Who knows what was done to her in the past 7 years.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      The child's name is in the article. Use a search engine and you will learn a lot more.

      July 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bobby

    Garcia, Martinez, or Rodriguez?

    July 15, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Carole Clarke

    Did any of the adults who put the child in this position ever think what all this would do to the child – did they care about the child or did they just care about being right? Our system of justice is good but not perfect – what screws up the courts are politicians who deliberately introduce laws that conflict with what we already have on the books. They do that to make work for themselves and guarantee themselves a paycheck and they've been doing that for thousands of years. Who suffers – not the adults, it's the innocent, the powerless and the uneducated who suffer and that's what this child is now. Thanks alot guys – you screwed up another kid to feel good about yourselves! Nobody did the right thing in this case. Whatever was wrong in the beginning could've been corrected by the application of truth and sunlight but what fun would that have been? This poor kid remembers nothing of his early life but is still young enough to get thru what needs to be done to help him now. He needs calmness, simplicity, a steady figure who is always there and wants what is good for him, no pressure and some catch-up sessions with an educator. That and a retired family court judge who can untangle this mess.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. TW

    so now what? take the child from the only family she has known for the past 7 years??? has anyone thought about what that might do to the child? I feel sorry for her. none of this is her fault but yet she is being punished the most. this will traumatize her.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. L. D

    Not enough info.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. diane

    This is a strang story. I don't understand the motivations of the aunts or the family that had the little girl in their home. Obviously, no one was looking out for the child's well-being. I hope she finds a good home with people that truly care about her and help her have a happy and productive life.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. joseph cecil smith

    you know, the actual relatives took this kid, after CPS had taken the child away from it's parents.. so you can easily say this was an attempt to correct a previous wrong, because CPS is known and proven to takes kids when it's not good for the kids.. CPS has way too much power, and some of their decisions aren't appeal-able with a lawyer.. it's not legal but they get away with it.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kraznodar

    This forum system is awful! Replies get posted as new and not replies. Abusive posts just disappear and replies then look like top level posts that don't make sense. I expect better than this.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Totally agree.

      July 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      It is my understanding that when children are home schooled, the parents/guardians are still required to register with the school system and follow the required curriculum. There is nothing wrong with home schooling as long as the kids are learning what they are supposed to. I find it hard to believe that this poor child was in an environment with people smart enough to provide her with a quality education.

      July 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. masson1012002

    The government owns children????, that has to be one of the most stupidist things I've heard, and you have to be even more stupid to believe it. This child was abducted and not by the government wow has education in this country along with common sence gotten that bad? God help us.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. munk

    just get her outta aryanzona.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • jenifter123

      you mean arizona

      July 16, 2010 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kim

    I can't believe how ignorant people can be. These ignorant people blame the government If the child is in an abusive home and then turn around and blame the government if the child is put in foster care. The only people to truly blame are the people (I can't call them parents) who have these poor children for some unknown reason and abuse them and neglect them. The child was abducted by her aunts and left with an unrelated famliy who was obvioulsy fully aware of the girl's situation. If the aunts were fit to be guardians, then the courts would have had them care for the girl. They should all be put in jail.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff S

    Someone is going to be charged with human trafficking in this affair. I think its safe to say we're going to find out the child was sold to these no-education freak-shows.

    July 15, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dee

    Who says the foster home was okay? And, apparently the aunts were being watched through the years so they couldn't keep the child. The "random" family may well have been part of a chain who will protect children from abusive situations. Courts rarely make the best decisions for children, especially in CA. There was plenty of family to care for the child, but looked like the child was going to be taken from them, maybe that's why they ran with the child. And as for schooling? Look at the recent school board case in Montana. Home schooling may be the answer for most children in the future. Being in school doesn't make everything "normal".

    July 15, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Petey

    I'm pretty sure religion is to blame for this somehow. But for the evil of religion, this girl would have been found in six years. What happened to the separation of Church and Crime?

    July 15, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. ed

    Since the child was abducted from the care of the foster parent who usually answers to the Social services and paid for by California, it will be found by the court that they were negligent.

    Since the California legislator started a precedence by paying Dugard $20 million because of the negligence of the parole officers of California, any court will find this falling under the same category and somebody will sue. This time instead of the legislator deciding to dole out $20 million it will be the court who would decide.

    California just open a can of worm

    July 15, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9