The mother of an 11-year-old girl whose abduction in San Clemente made headlines in September pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail for taking the girl to Oregon after she lost custody of the child.
Sera Jeselle Fina, 42, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of child stealing by a non-custodial person, according to court records. She was also placed on three years of informal probation.
Kaia Fina went missing from her foster home in San Clemente on Sept. 7. She was found in Oregon with her mother 10 days later after sheriff’s officials made a public plea for help finding the girl, who was later returned to the custody of social services.
Though Fina lost custody of Kaia just before the child went missing, she did have visitation rights and saw her daughter before the abduction, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Fina was arrested Aug. 10 for failing to appear for traffic violations dating back to September 2012, according to court records. She pleaded guilty in August to driving on a suspended license and failing to properly secure a child in a vehicle and was sentenced to six days in jail, given credit for time served and released.
Shortly after that, her daughter was placed in foster care, Braun said.
Sheriff’s investigators contacted the girl’s father, who lives out of state, upon her disappearance, but were unable to get in touch with her mother, Braun said.
The youngster left her foster home at 2:30 a.m., Sept. 7, on her own, according to Braun, who said about 50 sheriff’s investigators searched the area around the foster home that weekend.
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