October 5, 2011

FOUND: Chioma Gray is Home with Her Family

Mom Greets Chioma at Airport
Chioma Gray's family last saw her Dec. 13, 2007. This blog began following the case a few weeks later.

The former student at Buena High School in Ventura, then 15, was getting into a stolen car that day driven by Andrew Joshua Tafoya, then 20, who had been released from jail the night before, according to witnesses. Gray and Tafoya were captured on a screening camera at the Mexican border on Dec. 13, 2007. The camera also showed the license plate of a stolen car.

In 2010, Chuck Hookstra, a private investigator and former Oxnard assistant police chief hired by Gray's mother, Franciene Black, found the stolen car parked in a compound near Acapulco, Mexico. He also discovered the two had lived in a small vacation spot, where Tafoya taught snorkeling and Gray worked as a waitress.

Chioma Gray, now 19, and Tafoya, now 24, arrived today at Los Angeles International Airport from Mexico City under escort of US Marshals. [SOURCE]
"I can only imagine what my daughter has been through the last three years," Black was quoted as saying in a statement released by her attorney, Cristina Armenta. "We have all been through a lot and we are so blessed to have her back."

Gray's family believes she was kidnapped. The mother has sued Tafoya and his parents, alleging custodial interference and infliction of emotional distress.

Tafoya's attorney, Tim Quinn, said the girl left willingly and the relationship was consensual. She still wants to be with him, Quinn said.

Tafoya is charged with violating probation stemming from his previous sentence and child-stealing.

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