Kidnapped Victim Found Alive After 8 Months In Captivity

( – In early December 2022, San Francisco Bay Area news agencies reported that a San Mateo woman had reportedly been kidnapped in Mexico. Citing a Facebook group established by friends and family members, they explained that Monica De Leon Barba had been walking with her dog to a gym on November 29, 2022, when unknown individuals forced her into a van in Tepatitlán de Morelos, a city located in central Mexico. Thankfully, her kidnappers released her after holding her captive for nearly eight months.

On July 15, the FBI’s San Francisco field office announced that kidnappers had released Barba the previous night. Noting that she was “safe and en route” to the US, officials thanked the State Department and Homeland Security Investigations for their “cooperation and dedication” to securing her safety.

Gustavo De Leon, Barba’s brother, posted a statement on the “Help Us Find Monica De Leon” Facebook page thanking everyone who helped his family through the “entire ordeal.” He wrote that the family could “finally close” that chapter in their lives and begin traveling the “long road of healing.”

The FBI first became involved in the case on the day of Barba’s disappearance. They released a poster containing details of the kidnapping, two photographs of her, and her physical description. They also offered a reward of up to $40,000 for information leading to her recovery.

Then, on April 13, FBI officials released two surveillance videos taken the day of Barba’s abduction. The first clip showed three vehicles used during the “commission of her kidnapping.”

The second video showed several suspects confronting Barba, forcing her into a vehicle, and fleeing the scene in three different cars. The clip indicated that at least five individuals were involved. The clip also showed her dog wandering the streets after the automobiles sped away from the crime scene. A family member later located and recovered the animal.

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