16/07/2010 11:38 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Kidnapped Toddler Found Alive Seven Years Later

A thirteen-month-old toddler who was kidnapped from a California restaurant back in 2003 has been found alive this week.

Little Amber Nicklas only speaks Romanian and is said to be traumatised by the process of being removed from her 'parents'. She has never been to school but currently speaks Romanian and English. Her upbringing since being kidnapped was a happy one and she was well cared for, and it's therefore understandable why the little girl is extremely upset at having being taken away from her captors.

The kidnappers tried to avoid being discovered by changing her name and claiming that she was Romanian like them. They also kept her away from school and faked her birth date.
Police discovered the girl in the house of a fortune teller in Phoenix, when they searched her home for a court order. The women had hidden the girl under a pile of towels in the bathroom shower, and the captor claimed she had adopted her. Suspicions were aroused when she couldn't provide any paperwork to back it up.

Captain Patrick Maxwell from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the girl seemed to live a normal life, other than her absence from school "She wasn't locked in a bedroom or anything like that. She called these people mum and dad"

The case may bring some hope to the parents of Madeline McCann, who has been missing for over three years.

Amber was originally snatched when her foster parents took her to see her mother at Chuck E. Cheese. Two of the girl's aunts distracted the foster mother, whilst another teenage aunt ran away with the baby. Two of the aunts were captured by police but the one with the toddler got away. Amber had previously been in the care of her grandmother before social services stepped in. Her own mother had given up all rights to her.

At the moment it's unclear whether the 'parents' she's lived with for the last seven years were part of the original kidnapping.

She will remain in the care of social services for the immediate future.

What do you think of the case?

Source: Daily Mail