A Florida mother has been reunited with her daughter 14 years after the girl was kidnapped by her father from her Central Florida home and taken to Mexico.
Jacqueline Hernández – now 19 – was just six years old when father Pablo Hernández took her from her Clermont, Florida, home on December 22, 2007 and fled with her to Mexico.
But in June this year, her mother Angelica Vences-Salgado received a message on social media from a girl claiming to be Jacqueline.
The pair made arrangements to meet at the Gateway to the Americas Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas, last Friday.
The Clermont Police Department said Vences-Salgado, a native of Mexico, reached out to them on September 2 to advise them of the proposed reunion.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office detectives then reached out to the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Orlando and Laredo to devise a plan to confirm Jacqueline’s identity.
Vences-Salgado and Jacqueline were picked up by HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Laredo Police Department at approximately 1:50pm on Friday at the border entry gate.
After nearly three hours of reviewing documents, including finger prints and her birth certificate, the agencies were able to confirm Jacqueline’s identity – and mother and daughter were finally reunited.
Clermont Police published a photograph of the pair hugging at long last.
Jacqueline Hernández (right) contacted her mother Angelica Vences-Salgado (left) in June and reunited with her in Laredo, Texas, last Friday, almost 14 years after her father Pablo Hernández kidnapped her from her Florida home
Jacqueline Hernández was just six years old when she was abducted by her father from her Clermont, Florida home on December 22, 2007
The teen told Fox 35 Orlando that her father raised her in Cilpancingo, a city in the southern state of Guerrero.
Pablo Hernández has not been arrested for kidnapping his daughter in Clermont, Florida on December 22, 2007 before fleeing with her to Mexico
She said that she had a good childhood, but that she always missed her mother.
She used Facebook to track down her mother – who at first did not believe she was speaking to her daughter.
But after the pair talked for a while, she realized it was her long-lost daughter.
According to Homeland Security Investigations, Hernández ‘escaped’ from her father about three months ago.
She then set off on a 868-mile journey to the United States-Mexico border where she finally met up with her mother.
Angelica Vences-Salgado told Univision on Wednesday that she froze and almost fainted at the sight of her daughter as the police closed in on them.
‘She would talk to me and say, ‘Ma, it’s me. Ma, it’s me.’ And all the cops are there and I say,’ Oh oh,” she said.
She recalled her daughter telling her, ‘if you say you’re not my mom, I faint.’
Vences-Salgado said the reunion filled her ‘with happiness that I have her here, that I can touch her, I can hug her. I can’t say how much I love her.’
Vences-Salgado told Fox35 that she was overjoyed that her daughter had returned.
Jacqueline has now moved in to her Florida home, which is decorated with welcome home signs and balloons.
She is also studying international business at a university in Mexico, Fox35 reports.
Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge David Pezzutti said: ‘A kidnapped daughter was reunited with her mother as a result of enforcement working together.
‘This is a great example of how strong partnerships in law enforcement can work to solve problems, no matter the complexity or distance.’
Jacqueline Hernández (left) escaped from her father about three months ago and the took off on a 868-mile journey to the United States-Mexico border where she saw her mother Angelica Vences-Salgado for the first time in almost 14 years
A missing person poster released 11 years after Jacqueline was abducted included a digitally aged picture of what she might have looked like at age 18
Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway said: ‘This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when multiple law enforcement agencies and their respective communities work cooperatively together and maintain open lines of communication.
‘In this case, several agencies in different counties and states across the nation were able to create a force multiplier and aid in reuniting the victim with her mother after 14 years.’
Clermont Police’s Kris Kruse told Fox35: ‘At this point we are actively working with the FBI and other agencies about trying to apprehend the father of the juvenile.’
Pablo Hernández has not been arrested or charged in connection with the abduction.
Homeland Securities Investigation said Jacqueline Hernández and her mother Angelica Vences-Salgado were intercepted at the Gateway to the Americas Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas last Friday before agents verified Hernández as the Central Florida girl who had been kidnapped by her father in 2007 and then taken to Mexico