Connie McCallister, a Wisconsin woman who disappeared nearly 10 years ago when she was just 16 years old, is alive and living in Mexico with her three young children, officials announced this week.
In 2004, McCallister, who was then an honor student and track star at Athens High School, started dating a 22-year-old man who reportedly drugged her and took her to Mexico against her will.
"He told her everything that she needed to hear, and she got involved with him," Judy Weise, a McCallister family friend, told the Journal Sentinel
. "They went to a party in Milwaukee and [McCallister] called her sister and said, 'He won't bring me back,' and that's the last anyone heard from her."
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The next nine years passed without any leads, until September when a Mexican church mission contacted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and told them McCallister, now 26, was there and wanted to come home.
"We have confirmed, through conversations on Skype, that this is really Connie, and she did ask for help in getting home," Wausau Police Capt. Greg Hagenbucher told the Daily Herald.
"But she won’t come back without her children."
McCallister reportedly managed to escape her abductor soon after she was taken to Mexico. That man is now wanted on sexual assault charges stemming from a different case, according to the Herald.
She reportedly told police she couldn’t contact her family in the U.S. because she didn’t speak Spanish, so she got a job as a field hand and met her current husband. They have two children, ages 3 and 5. McCallister also has a 7-year-old from another man she briefly dated in Mexico.
Weise told the Sentinel that McCallister plans on moving her family to Athens, Wis., as long as a U.S. court grants her husband permission to stay.
"We're just so excited because this story will be a happy one," Weise said. "Not many families can have this happy ending."
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