Kidnapped girl safely back home

12-year-old was taken to Tennessee

By Craig Gustafson

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A 12-year-old girl who was reported kidnapped in November and found in Tennessee was swarmed by family members when she returned home Sunday.

Johania Funes looked stunned as she faced cameras and didn't speak to reporters.


Her family -- including both sisters, her parents and an aunt -- sobbed and gave Johania a group hug.

"Imagine how happy I feel. So happy," her mother, Ilsa Escobar, had said through an interpreter earlier while waiting for her daughter. She reported Johania missing Nov. 26 after the girl failed to show up for school.

On Saturday morning, Johania was found "safe and unharmed" at an apartment complex in Jackson, Tenn., authorities said. Raymundo Barrios Roblero, 24, was later arrested at a friend's house in Carroll County, Ky., according to the FBI.

When Johania disappeared, her family suspected she had run away, but police said she had been seen talking at a school bus stop with a man the family knew.

Roblero lived one floor above Escobar's apartment in a south Minneapolis complex, though Escobar said she knew little about him.

Authorities tracked Johania down after she used a calling card to phone her family Dec. 14 from Jackson, said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Tammy Diedrich, who escorted the girl home.

The phone card belonged to a friend of Roblero, she said Sunday.

FBI agents looked for Roblero shortly after the girl's disappearance, and he was charged last month with kidnapping and false imprisonment.


Last week, the FBI in Minneapolis received a tip Roblero was in Jackson, a city of about 100,000 people some 120 miles west of Nashville.

He faces an extradition hearing this week, Diedrich said.

Escobar said she returned home from a store Saturday and found Minneapolis police waiting with news her daughter had been found, and she spoke with Johania late Saturday.

"She told me that she loves me and that she wants to be back with us," Escobar said. "We are all so happy."

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