Teen Abducted Over 10 Years Ago Shares Emotional Reunion with Mother
After a decade of living in abuse, neglect, and confusion about her family of origin, a 15-year-old girl has been reunited with her mother and extended family.
Cinthya Miranda was just 5 years old when she last saw her mother in 2009. It was a complicated time in her family’s life — her mother, Kadisha Montanez, was in prison for drug trafficking.
While their mother was in prison, Cinthya and her siblings lived with their grandparents, Rosemary and Luis Serrano, who are Montanez’s parents. Sometimes, Cinthya would spend the weekends with her biological father.
But on the girl’s 5th birthday in 2009, with no warning and no communication, Cinthya and her father vanished without a trace.
The family was afraid of Cinthya’s father, allegedly a former gang member, who they believed would retaliate against the family or harm Cinthya if they went to the police about the missing girl.
“He always told us, ‘If you ever look for her, I will make her disappear,” Montanez told WAGA-TV.
From behind prison walls, Montanez cried bitterly, powerless to find her missing daughter.
For 10 years, Montanez hoped that her daughter was living a happy, stable life with her father, but now, she knows the hard truth about Cinthya’s childhood.
Out of the blue, Montanez received a message on Facebook from someone claiming to be a nun living in Nicaragua, who was caring for a teenager she believed might be Montanez’s missing daughter.
“It may be coincidence or the province of God … Tell me, could she be your daughter?” the messenger wrote.
Montanez was immediately skeptical.
But when the Catholic nun from the Cristo Obrero Children’s Home, a girls orphanage in Diriomo, Nicaragua, was able to provide detailed information on Cinthya’s birth date and life, Montanez had hope for the first time in 10 years.
With the nun’s help, Montanez, her parents and Cynthia’s older siblings were able to talk to the teen on a video call.
“I jumped up and said, ‘Cinthya!'” Montanez told Forsyth County News. “I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to run, I wanted to know where she was at so I could just get there.”
Montanez spent the next three weeks wading through the logistics of getting herself to Nicaragua and ensuring that she could bring Cinthya back home to the U.S.
When Montanez first laid eyes on Cinthya, now a grown teenager, she embraced her daughter and wept. In a tearful reunion, mother and daughter hugged tightly, eager to begin their new life together.
REUNITED AFTER 10 YEARS: This is an incredible moment you have to see. A mother says her daughter was taken by her father 10 years ago–vanishing without a trace. Out of thin air, one message changed everything. How Cinthya made it back to her family TONIGHT on @FOX5Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/ClZ0UQV0tM
— Alexa Liacko FOX 5 (@AlexaLiackoFOX5) November 20, 2019
The questions that both mother and daughter had been harboring for years were finally brought to light.
“The story that my dad told me was that my mom abandoned me, and he told me, ‘They don’t love you, they hate you,'” Cinthya said.
At first, Cinthya lived with her father in Lawrenceville, Georgia, just one county away from her mother. Cinthya suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, his new wife, and his new wife’s mother.
They would force her to go without food, make her sleep in the garage as punishment, and constantly remind her that her family of origin wanted nothing to do with her.
After roughly six years of living in Georgia, Cinthya’s father somehow managed to send his daughter to Nicaragua with her step-grandmother.
Cinthya eventually ran away and sought help at the Cristo Obrero Children’s Home, where she stayed for over a year.
“They really helped me when I needed it,” Cinthya said of the nuns who cared for her. “So I’m thankful 100 percent. They don’t have that responsibility to take care of us, but they do it because they love doing it.”
A new nun who had come to the home to work for several weeks heard Cynthia’s story and took it upon herself to try and locate her mother. She was the one who sent the Facebook message, with nothing more to go on than a woman’s name.
“I didn’t know anything about her; I just knew her name,” Cinthya said. “I always thought, ‘Where are they? Where is my brother? Where is my sister? Where is my mom?’ But I didn’t know.”
Cinthya soon learned that her father had been lying to her all along. Her family missed her desperately and wanted her home with all their might.
“I was always like, ‘Why would I find them if they don’t love me?’ But I didn’t know that they were suffering,” Cinthya said to Forsyth County News. “All of that was just the story that my dad told me.”
When Cinthya came back home to Georgia with her mother, she was reunited with her siblings and her grandparents, who had lived with guilt and sorrow over their granddaughter’s disappearance for the past 10 years.
Now, Cinthya is learning what it means to live with a family who loves her. She intends to go to counseling to work through the years of abuse, will enroll in school, and make up for lost time with her family.
“This is something that I’ve been waiting for 10 years,” Cinthya’s older sister, Naomi Montanez, said to Forsyth County News. “When my sister was gone, it was like a part of me died with her. It was like I wasn’t the same anymore. And I promise you the moment she came back, it was like anything and everything that I’ve done was for her.”
“My cheeks hurt so much from smiling,” the happy teen said to WAGA-TV.
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