Heather & Kayla Unbehaun Left For A July Fourth Camping Trip & Never Returned

Kayla Unbehaun was with her mother on Independence Day 2017. The next day, her father arrived at the home where Heather and Kayla were supposed to be, but Heather's family told him they went camping in Wisconsin and never returned.

January 23, 2019

Kayla and Heather Unbehaun [Zero Point Zero Production]

Kayla and Heather Unbehaun [Zero Point Zero Production]

By: Michelle Sigona
Related To:

SOUTH ELGIN, IL — Ryan Iskerka isn't giving up hope that he will find his young daughter and be reunited with her again. Investigators say then-10-year-old Kayla Unbehaun vanished on the weekend of July 4, 2017, and hasn't been seen since. It's possible, according to authorities, that she is with her biological mother, 37-year-old Heather Unbehaun.

Iskerka sat down with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to discuss his daughter's case. He revealed that he originally had an informal arrangement with Kayla's mom, Heather, but that the schedule wasn't working.

Eventually the pair went to court over the situation, and a judge had a formal agreement put on the record. The problem persisted, according to Iskerka, because, "She couldn't follow that, she couldn't follow the order we agreed upon in court. She repeatedly had not followed what it said."

Although things were not going as planned, Kayla was with her mother on Independence Day 2017. The next day, Iskerka arrived at the home where Heather and Kayla were supposed to be, but Heather's family told him they went camping in Wisconsin and never returned.

Since then, it's been a complete nightmare for Ryan, his wife, and their family. Although a police alert was issued, it didn't yield any new clues.

Iskerka said, “It was discovered that all of Heather's social media (accounts) had been canceled and her phone turned off. As far as we know, no one has been able to reach her or has talked to her since [July 4, 2017].”

The worried father wants everyone to know: "There's a lot of people who love her, everyone loves her in our family. Everyone wants to see her and spend time with her. I don't want to take her mother away from her. I want her to grow up happy and have a life with everyone who loves her."

There are a couple of important clues in this case. Authorities say Heather has ties to Georgia — especially Atlanta. NCMEC says Heather could also be hiding in the city of Athens. Additionally, Heather has been known to express interest in living “off the grid.”

Heather Unbehaun is facing a charge of felony kidnapping.


Kayla Unbehaun:

  • Age: 11
  • Sex: Female
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Hair: Sandy
  • Height: 4 feet 4 inches tall
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • DOB: January 5, 2008
  • Missing from: South Elgin, IL
  • Missing Since: July 5, 2017

Heather Unbehaun:

  • Age: 37
  • Sex: Female
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Hair: Blonde
  • Height: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Weight: 135 pounds
  • DOB: June 15, 1982

If you know anything about this case, please contact our hotline (833-3-PURSUE) or submit a tip online.

For more on this case, watch the “Campus Tragedy” episode of Investigation Discovery's In Pursuit With John Walsh on ID GO now!

Read more: Dayton Daily News, NCMEC

Next Up

Ava Baldwin, 6, Believed Abducted By Mom 4 Years Ago & 'Not In Good Hands'

Authorities believe Kathryn “Katie” Baldwin, Ava's mother, abducted the child in San Antonio in 2015; have you seen them?

Arianna Fitts, 2, Went Missing & Her Mother Was Murdered

The FBI says Arianna Fitts was formally reported missing on April 5, 2018, and Nicole Fitts' body was located three days later.

Edge Of The Cliff: How An American Dream Turned Into A Nightmare For A Model Family

Jennifer and Sarah Hart were regarded by all who knew them as caring and devoted parents who had adopted two sets of three Black siblings and dedicated their lives to raising the six children in a socially conscious atmosphere that focused on love and acceptance.

Cops Confirm Remains Found Are Missing Mom Savannah Spurlock; Suspect Arrested

Savannah Spurlock vanished in January; the body was reportedly found on property owned by the suspect's family.

Mom Not Cooperating In Search For Missing 5-Year-Old; Boy's Scent Found In Car Trunk

Andrew “AJ” Freund vanished last Thursday; police don't believe he was abducted or ran away.

Mom In Custody After 6-Year-Old Boy Missing Since August 2018 Found In Attic

Braedence Jones was found on Tuesday hiding in a crawlspace in Laclede County with his mother, Aubrey Ferguson, and her boyfriend, Woodrow Ziegler.

'House of Horrors' Child-Torture Turpins Sentenced To Life; Survivors Speak Out In Court

“My parents took my whole life from me, but now I'm taking my life back,” one daughter told the court.

Stepfather Of Maleah Davis, Derion Vence, Reportedly Confesses That Child Is Dead, Her Body Is In Arkansas

Court documents report that “there is a substantial likelihood” that Derion Vance may be charged with murder.

Featured Cases

More Missing