After being reported missing months ago when her fugitive father allegedly abducted her, an 11-year-old girl has been found in a foreign country.
Originally from Texas, the girl, Sophie Long, was last seen on July 12 in Guadalupe, California and is believed to be with her non-custodial father, 42-year-old Michael Long.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, she “may be en route to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mexico or Argentina.”
“Michael Long is possibly driving an off white 2010 Ford Edge SUV or a grey van with blacked out windows, a NRA sticker and a black rack on top. Missing juvenile has a small burn mark on one of her arms,”it said.
Now that Sophie has been discovered in the undisclosed foreign country, her father is refusing to hand her over to her maternal aunt amid a custody dispute.
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Sophie is now being held in protective custody while arrangements are being made for her to safely return home.
“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.
For quite some time now, Michael has been fighting for custody of both Sophie and two of his other children. In fact, last year he posted a GoFundMe in an attempt to raise money for the court battle, accusing his ex-wife of abusing the children.
The mother, Kelly Long, has since denied allegations and in September 2020, an attorney “appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the children” determined Kelly would be better able to provide for them while Michael was awarded visitation.
Now, even Michael’s current wife, Kourtney Chalmers has stated that “Michael is not a stable person for Sophie to be with and he has threatened to flee the country with her.”
Now Sophie’s mother is fighting to have Michael punished for kidnapping their child.
On the day before his warrant for arrest was issued, Michael spoke to Daily Mail: “I’d absolutely go to jail to protect Sophie. I’d do anything for her. She’s a 10-year-old child,” Michael told DailyMail.com. “She shouldn’t have to be dealing with this stuff. These high conflict custody cases – this wasn’t about getting into a custody case. This was about getting justice for my daughter.”