Abducted U.K. girl found in Montreal after 3-year hunt
A British girl allegedly abducted by her mother has been reunited with her father after a three-year long international search.
Police found seven-year-old Pearl Rose Gavaghan Da Massa in Montreal last Friday. She disappeared from a nursery school in Manchester, England on Dec. 9, 2008.
Her return comes after a long hunt involving police from nearly all corners of the globe.
"It was the end of the mayhem and we could finally get back to normality," the girl's father Henry Da Massa told Manchester Evening News.
The girl's mother Helen Gavaghan has been arrested and remains in custody in Canada, according to Montreal media reports.
Pearl was located after a Montreal man spotted the girl with her mother on the subway and called 911, according a representative from The Missing Children's Network and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
"This person was sitting next to the mother and daughter and observed rather unusual behavior between them," said Pina Arcamore in a release issued Tuesday.
"When they stepped off the subway, he decided to follow them and as his concerns grew, he placed that one important call."
Police allege Gavaghan took Pearl without the consent of her father. It is believed the pair first travelled to Mexico and later to Texas. In 2010, the two were spotted in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood.
Toronto police said Gavaghan was living in Toronto for more than a year under the name of Dana Flaherty. Pearl was reportedly living under the name of Bella Flaherty. Investigators said the pair moved before police could catch up with them.
After three years apart, Pearl and her father returned to their home in England on Sunday night.
"Finding and bringing Pearl home [has] been a combination of hard work and good fortune, vigilance and the public response," Da Massa told Manchester Evening News.
Da Massa launched a widespread social media campaign when his daughter first disappeared. Over the last few years, he has worked with investigators in posting updates about his missing daughter to a website, Twitter and Facebook.
The search for Pearl has involved police from across the globe. U.K. authorities had issued international arrest and extradition warrants for Gavaghan, who was also on Interpol's RED notice list.
Gavaghan reportedly had a joint custody agreement with Da Massa. Initial media reports suggest Canadian authorities will extradite her to the U.K. to face kidnapping charges.