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The story of a kidnapped child recovered by police on July 15, has no happy ending. Amber Rose Nicklas, 7, was discovered living with a family in Phoenix, Arizona, the only family she can remember. She was kidnapped from foster parents by her aunts as a very young child and has been a member of her current family ever since. She is now back in Southern California.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Amber was taken from her grandmother shortly after she was born and placed in foster care in Los Angeles County. About a year later, she was taken to meet her aunts who distracted the foster parents and took off with the little girl. Two of the aunts, juveniles at the time, were caught and charged with kidnapping. The third was never charged.
The Times reports police believe the kidnapped child came to live with her current family soon after she was taken. However, the family has no documents that evidence her adoption. Police also say Amber had been kept out of school although she is nearly 8. The little girl seemed well cared for and happy when the police arrived to retrieve her.
Her family was "distraught" at loosing Amber who is now at a shelter with the county's Department of Children and Family Services in Southern California. Many questions remain. How did Amber get from California to Arizona, and did her family play a part in her kidnapping? Amber's third aunt has been interviewed by police but has still not been charged with a crime. And most importantly, what will happen to Amber Rose Nicklas now?
"Last night, law enforcement took [Amber] away from the only family she knows," sheriff's Capt. Patrick Maxwell told the Times. "This is a happy and sad moment. We're happy we did locate the child. But we all should remember this child has been a victim three times in her life."