The newborn baby who was abducted after her mother was shot to death in a Wichita, Kansas, home has been found alive in Dallas, Texas.
Laura Abarca-Nogueda, 27, was found shot to death when her boyfriend returned home from work on Nov. 17, The Wichita Eagle reports.
The couple’s daughter Sofia Gonzales, who was only 8-days-old, was not in the home, and her father called 911 to report her missing. A nationwide search that included the FBI was launched, and Sofia was found two days later on Nov. 19 in Dallas.
“This is the best possible outcome to a very sad case,” Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said, adding that Sofia is in good health.
Of the FBI, Ramsay said, “I can’t thank them enough." He also thanked the Dallas Police Department, stating that it “dropped everything” to assist in the case when Sofia was located in the city.
“Hard work and the collaboration with the FBI is really what made this [closure] come about,” he said.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 19, the Dallas police SWAT team executed a search warrant at a house where they took two people into custody.
The suspect who allegedly took Sofia to Dallas knew Abarca-Nogueda, Ramsay said, but he did not provide further information.
Ramsay added that there could be more suspects in the case.
“It is still an active investigation,” he said. “It’s a complicated case, and we want to make sure we get it right.”
Detectives accompanied Sofia was on a plane back to Wichita the same day she was found and will be reunited with her family “as soon as possible,” Ramsay said.
But Sofia’s reunion is bittersweet, as her family makes funeral arrangements for her mother.
“They should be picking things out for the nursery instead of picking out a casket,” local minister Odell Harris Jr., whose wife was “like a sister” to Abarca-Nogueda, said of family members. His wife "has not yet stopped crying," he said.
Harris believes Sofia’s safe recovery is a sign that “God answered our prayers.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover Abarca-Nogueda’s funeral expenses.
“Laura Orquidea Abarca Nogueda was a vibrant, beautiful woman, who's life got taken from us far to soon,” Tiffany Reyes, who started the fund, wrote on its page. "She was a loving mother to her daughter Sophia, a devoted girlfriend, also a caring sister, [daughter] and aunt, simply a friend to us all ... Laura meant so much to us and we are devastated by the events surrounded by her death and the disappearance of her [daughter] Sophia.”
In one day, the fund raised more than $9,000 of its $10,000 goal.