Girl found 6 years after family kidnapping

July 15, 2010

PHOENIX -- An Arizona family says it adopted a California girl abducted from her foster parents in 2003, investigators said Thursday.

Jerry Saba, a detective with the Los Angeles sheriff's department, said the Phoenix family has no proof of an adoption and had been keeping Amber Rose Nicklaus out of school, the Los Angeles Times reported. But he said she had apparently been living there since shortly after she was kidnapped as a year-old toddler.

"That was her family in her mind," Saba said Thursday at a news conference in Norwalk, Calif.

Phoenix police, FBI agents and detectives from the Los Angeles detectives raided the Phoenix home Wednesday, The Arizona Republic reported. They found the 7-year-old, who seemed to be healthy and cared for.

Her identity was confirmed by matching her footprint with one on her birth certificate, and she was turned over to child welfare authorities for return to California.

A woman at the home tried to hide the child under a pile of clothes, investigators said.

California police say her three aunts, all teenagers at the time, snatched the girl from a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Norwalk, the Pasadena Star-News said. Two of the aunts were later given juvenile sentences, but the third was not apprehended.


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