In Mistaken Identity, Distraught Mexican Girl Brought To U.S., Then Sent Back

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Alondra Luna Nunez, 14, smiles at a news conference upon her arrival at the Guanajuato International Airport in Silao, Mexico, on Wednesday. The Mexican girl, who was taken from a courthouse by police and sent kicking and screaming to the U.S., returned home after DNA tests showed she is not related to a Houston woman searching for her missing daughter. (AP)
Alondra Luna Nunez, 14, smiles at a news conference upon her arrival at the Guanajuato International Airport in Silao, Mexico, on Wednesday. The Mexican girl, who was taken from a courthouse by police and sent kicking and screaming to the U.S., returned home after DNA tests showed she is not related to a Houston woman searching for her missing daughter. (AP)

The video is heart-wrenching: 14-year-old Alondra Luna Nunez screams and resists as several Mexican police officers take her out of a courthouse and force her into a waiting patrol car.

The video was shot just minutes after a Mexican judge had ordered Alondra Luna to be taken to the U.S. to live with Dorotea Garcia in Houston.

Garcia had been searching for her daughter since 2007 when her ex-husband illegally took the girl to Mexico.

Alondra Luna's parents in Mexico pleaded with the judge to conduct a DNA test before sending her to Texas — to no avail. Immediately after the girl's removal, her parents and supporters blocked a major highway, posted appeals on social media and took to the airwaves.

"That woman [in Texas] only picked out my daughter because of her name and nothing else," Gustavo Luna, the girl's father, said on national radio.

In a different broadcast, the girl's mother cried: "They stole my daughter."

The parents insisted that authorities must be looking for a different Alondra, who was a year younger and last seen living with her father, a distant relative of theirs.

Adding to the confusion in the case, a video appeared on Facebook of Alondra Luna, the girl dragged out of the courthouse.

Nearly drowned out by passing cars, Alondra Luna smiles into the camera and says she's in the U.S. and it's a nice place.

But with international pressure growing, a DNA test was ordered. It was not a match for the Texas woman's daughter. So on Wednesday, Alondra Luna was flown back and reunited with her parents in Mexico.

Speaking to reporters, the relieved teen said she thought she was going to end up living in Houston. She said she filmed the video to reassure her parents she was fine and added that the Houston woman told her she had identified her from a picture on her Facebook page.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now a case of mistaken identity. In Mexico, a teenage girl was taken from her parents earlier this week. She was removed by police, and a video of the girl being dragged away went viral. A woman in Houston claimed to be her mother, so the girl was sent to Texas. Now she's been returned to her biological parents. NPR's Carrie Kahn has the story.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: That viral video is heart-wrenching.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

ALONDRA: (Screaming) No, no.

KAHN: Fourteen-year-old Alondra Luna Nunez screams and fights off several police officers as they push her into a waiting patrol car. The video was shot just minutes after Alondra Luna had been ordered by a Mexican judge to be taken to the U.S. to live with Dorotea Garcia in Houston, Texas. Garcia had been searching for her daughter since 2007, when her ex-husband illegally took her to Mexico. Alondra Luna's parents in Mexico pleaded with the judge to conduct a DNA test before sending her to Texas, but to no avail. Immediately after the girl's removal, her parents and supporters blocked the major highway, posted appeals on social media and took to the airwaves.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GUSTAVO LUNA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "That woman only picked out my daughter because of her name and nothing else," said Gustavo Luna, the girl's father, on national radio. They stole my daughter, cried the girl's mother in a different broadcast. Both parents insisted authorities were looking for a different Alondra, who was a year younger and last seen living with her father, a distant relative of theirs. Then, earlier this week, adding to the murkiness of the case, a video of Alondra Luna, the girl dragged out of the courthouse, appeared on Facebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

ALONDRA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Nearly drowned out by passing cars, Alondra Luna smiles into the camera and says she's in the U.S., and it's a nice place. But with international pressure growing, a DNA test was ordered. It was not a match for the Texas woman's daughter. And early yesterday, Alondra Luna was flown back and reunited with her parents.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALONDRA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Speaking to reporters, the relieved teen said she thought was going to end up living in Houston. She said she filmed the posted video to reassure her parents she was fine and added the Houston woman told her she had identified her from a picture on her Facebook page. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.