An 11-year-old girl who has been missing since July has been found in a foreign country.
Sophie Long is now due to be returned to Texas, USA, after she was found abroad with her fugitive dad, Michael.
Sophie went missing after a bitter custodial dispute which saw Michael refuse to hand her over to her maternal aunt and was last seen on 12 July in Seguin, northeast of San Antonio.
Collin County Sheriff’s Office said Sophie is now in protective custody, though they will not detail which country she was found in until she is back on US soil.
Michael, 43, is in custody on a felony warrant for interference with child custody.
Collin County Sheriff, Jim Skinner, said in a statement: “Many months of determined work by my deputies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Marshals paid off this morning.
“We are so happy Sophie is safe.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s missing person notice, it was feared that Michael may have been taking Sophie to Mexico or Argentina.
The notice read: “Missing juvenile is believed to be with her non-custodial parent, Michael Long, and may be en route to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mexico or Argentina.
“Michael Long is possibly driving an off white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a grey van with blacked out windows, a NRA sticker and a black rack on top.
“Missing juvenile has a small burn mark on one of her arms.”
Michael previously told the Daily Mail: “I’d absolutely go to jail to protect Sophie. I’d do anything for her. She’s a 10-year-old child.
“She shouldn’t have to be dealing with this stuff. These high conflict custody cases – this wasn’t about getting into a custody case. This was about getting justice for my daughter.”
Attorneys for Sophie’s mum Kelly said ‘unfounded’ claims were part of Michael’s ‘personal vendetta against his ex-wife’, which had ‘escalated to dangerous levels’.
Source: US News