MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities may have located a girl taken by her father from Houston to Mexico eight years ago in a cross-border custody case that exploded into international headlines recently with a case of mistaken identity, an official said Monday.
The girl presented herself at a court building accompanied by three relatives and identified herself as Alondra Diaz, a court official in the southwestern state of Michoacan told The Associated Press.
The official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the court was evaluating the girl's paperwork and identity documents.
The whereabouts of Alondra Diaz, who turns 13 this year, have been unknown since 2007, when her father allegedly took her to Mexico without her mother's consent.
In April, a judge erroneously sent another girl named Alondra to be reunited with Houston resident Dorotea Garcia, who was convinced she was her long-lost daughter.
Video that circulated widely in social and traditional media showed Alondra Luna Nunez being taken kicking and screaming by police.
Days later, DNA testing in the United States proved that Alondra Luna was not Garcia's daughter, and she was returned to her family in Guanajuato, Mexico. The girl and her family had asked for a DNA examination before she was sent to Texas, but the judge said that was not within her authority and declined to order the test. Prosecutors are investigating the case.
Before arriving at the courthouse, the girl who identified herself as Alondra Diaz said in an interview with Univision that she was "saddened" by what had happened.
"Yes, I was content with my father, I was happy, but at the same time I felt that something was missing ... I have lacked the love of my mother because I have not seen her for so long," the girl said. "But I also want to be with my father."
Garcia, speaking to Univision from Houston, said she intended to withdraw the complaints she had filed against the father.
Late Monday night, judge Cinthia Elodia Mercado said officials had met with the girl and her relatives for almost 12 hours in the court building, hearing their testimony and analyzing documents.
Mercado said another audience would be held on Tuesday "with all parties present," presumably including Garcia. If it is confirmed that the girl is Garcia's daughter she would be allowed to travel with her back to the United States.
An official who asked not to be identified in line with office policy said no DNA tests were carried out on the girl Monday.
Susana Nunez, the mother of Alondra Luna who was mistakenly seized, sounded a note of caution after what she called a nightmare for her family.
"I hope the authorities simply make sure that this girl is truly her, that they have the right girl," Nunez told The Associated Press by phone.
If it turns out to be the right Alondra this time, she said, "I'm happy for her and her mother."
Nunez said her daughter is doing well following her ordeal, returning to school and resuming the usual life of a teenager.
"She has calmed down," Nunez said.
Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Mexico City contributed.