A Texas 10-year-old who was reported missing earlier this year has been found in a foreign country and is set to return home to her family in the United States, according to law enforcement authorities.
According to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, Sophie Long is now in protective custody after she was reported missing earlier this year and feared to be kidnaped by her father, Michael Long, who is now in police custody.
In a statement shared to social media, the sheriff’s office confirmed Sophie “has been located in a foreign country and is in protective custody” as “arrangements are being made for her safe return to her family in the United States
The statement also noted that Sophie’s father – who told the Daily Mail in August that he was willing to go to jail to “protect” the daughter he was accused of taking – is “in custody on a felony warrant fo interference with Child Custody.”
The department, which did not specifically identify which country Sophie had been found in, stated the U.S. government is “working on the extradition of Long back to Collin County, Texas.”
“Many months of determined work by my deputies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals paid off this morning. We are so happy that Sophie is safe,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said.
A MISSING 10-year-old girl who was at the center of the ‘Stand With Sophie’ campaign after claims of child sex abuse has finally been found.
The girl was discovered in a foreign country and is in protective custody after vanishing earlier this year.
Sophie was believed to have been kidnapped by her father, Michael Long, who is now in police custody.
“Sophie Long has been located in a foreign country and is in protective custody. Arrangements are being made for her safe return to her family in the United States,” read a statement from the sheriff’s office.
“Michael Long is in custody on a felony warrant for Interference with Child Custody. The United States government is working on the extradition of Long back to Collin County, Texas.”
Authorities didn’t say which country Sophie had been found in but Collin County Sheriff, Jim Skinner, said the “determined work” of his deputies, the FBI and the US Marshals “paid off this morning.”
We are so happy that Sophie is safe,” he said.
Sophie was last seen on July 12 and had become the center of a case that took the internet by storm.
Her father had accused his ex-wife’s current partner of sexually abusing the child.
Kelly Long denied all the allegations saying her ex-husband’s “personal vendetta…has now escalated to dangerous levels.
Court documents said Michael and Sophie communicated in code and used special words to let him know about the alleged abuse at her home.
A viral video appeared to show Sophie detailing screaming and telling her grandmother that she does not want to leave the car and go to the home because she feels uncomfortable.
Since the video made the rounds on social media, a Facebook campaign was created called Stand with Sophie to get the attention of high-profile people.
Michael Long and his ex-wife Kelly were involved in a tumultuous custody battle for Sophie after their divorce in July of 2015.
A judge granted the parents a 50/50 split custody agreement.
A woman believed to be Michael’s girlfriend posted to Facebook on Sunday, writing: “I’m praying this will help someone spot them and help us bring Sophie home safely.”
Kourtney Chalmers added: “Again, a psychological evaluation reported Michael is not a stable person for Sophie to be with and he has threatened to flee the country with her.”
In a statement, the Texas Department of Public Safety said: “Missing juvenile is believed to be with her non-custodial parent, Michael Long, and maybe en route to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mexico or Argentina.
Michael Long is possibly driving an off-white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a gray van with blacked-out windows, an NRA sticker, and a black rack on top.
“Missing juvenile has a small burn mark on one of her arms.”
Michael Long had arrived at a court custody hearing without Sophie and she has not been seen since, police told Crime Online.
Kelly was later awarded full custody and took the children to live more than 200 miles away from their father.
Her spokesperson said: “We have alerted the authorities and attorneys are doing everything they can to warn the public about the false nature of these claims. Michael Long’s personal vendetta against his ex-wife has now escalated to dangerous levels.”
Court documents have noted that both parents have a history of calling Child Protective Services to make complaints about the other.
None of the previous complaints to CPS have been substantiated, including the allegations of domestic violence, according to the court docs.
Michael Long then created the Facebook group to raise awareness about the custody case and share updates with Sophie’s supporters.
In September last year, a judge granted Kelly Long custody of the children, allowing Michael Long visitation rights.