Facebook Reunites Mom With Kidnapped Kids

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, In The News, Media

A California mom who says her children were kidnapped by their father more than 15 years ago has been reunited with her son and daughter after she searched for them on Facebook.

Police say Faustino Utrera disappeared from San Bernadino, Calif. with the unnamed woman's two children, then 2 and 3 years old, and haven't been seen since, reports WESH.com.

In March, the woman searched the social media network for her daughter and found someone with her name. She sent the young woman a friend request, and the two began to communicate. The mother immediately contacted San Bernadino District Attorney Kurt Rowley.

"We did some additional investigation until we located Mr. Utrera and the kids in Florida," Rowley tells WESH.

Authorities arrested Utrera and took the children, now teens, into protective custody. They're now with their mom, and will eventually move back to California with her. And that, says Department of Children and Families officials, is where the situation gets complicated.

"There is no relationship there," Carrie Hoeppner of DCF tells WESH. "You don't have that immediate joyful reunification. If in fact that is what will progress, it will take time. These children will have to build a relationship, and that is something that will not happen overnight."

Related: Facebook Makes Couple's Adoption Dreams Come True

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.