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Disappeared: Missing teenager turns up in Mexico - with husband, kids

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Countless people disappear from the United States every year - but sometimes, they return. Connie McCallister was 16 when she abruptly disappeared from her home and family in Wausau, Wisconsin back in 2004. She's now turned up living in Mexico, with a husband and three children - with quite a story to tell.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - McCallister says that she was drugged at a party, and forcibly kidnapped by her boyfriend who took her to Mexico. Now 25 years old, McCallister called her mother a few days after her abduction, but refused to say where she was.

McCallister says that her relationship with her original boyfriend later turned abusive, according to Judy Weise, a family friend. She later married another man.

"She has wanted to come home ever since, but it's a very impoverished area and she didn't have any idea where to start," Weise said.

McCallister's status came to light after she met a missionary in Mexico in September. It's not yet known if the missionary recognized her or if she asked for help.

The missionary later contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and police in Wausau, Wisconsin, which covers Athens where her family lived when she disappeared.  

Police were able to contact McCallister through Skype in September. McCallister said she wished to return to the U.S., but needed identification for her three children, police said.

Her then-boyfriend is now wanted on charges of first-degree sexual assault involving an unrelated victim.

A group of volunteers at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Athens is raising money to bring McCallister and her children home.

"We want to use this as an example for families with missing relatives to never give up hope," Judy Weise, a family friend and church administrator told reporters. "There's always a chance their loved one could come home. Don't ever give up hope."

McCallister will live with a friend when she returns to the U.S. "She's excited and she's cautious and she knows it's going to be whole new world again and she's afraid," McCallister's friend said. "There are a lot of adjustments."

McCallister's mother, Cindy McCallister, now lives in Florida.

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