Two men abducted a 10-year-old girl from her home Wednesday, but this is not the first time the family has dealt with a situation like this. The aunt of the young victim had her son kidnapped five years ago by his own father and uncle, in what turned out to be an international custody dispute. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Northridge for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 28, 2013.
The aunt of a young girl kidnapped from her Northridge home said that she felt the pain of her sister, who is the mother of the 10-year-old abduction victim.
That's because Christine Stackhouse, who chose to speak to NBC4, herself experienced having her 10-year-old son kidnapped.
"It's the worst thing that could happen to a mother. It's happened to me and now it’s happened to my sister?" said a distraught Stackhouse on Wednesday.
"You don’t want this to happen to you. It's the worst thing that could happen to a parent. Period. There’s nothing worse than this," she added.
Stackhouse's niece, who is not being named by NBC4, was disappeared from her Northridge bedroom just after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Her apparent abduction prompted a massive search that involved Los Angeles police and the FBI.
About 12 hours after her disappearance, she was found by a passerby who recognized her from media reports and took her to two police officers at a Woodland Hills Starbucks.
Traumatized, with bruises and cuts to her face, the girl told authorities two men had driven her around in multiple vehicles. A search for the two kidnappers continued Thursday.
About five years before, the same extended family experienced a crisis strangely similar.
Stackhouse's son was kidnapped in 2008 by her ex-husband John Silah, who took the boy to Europe. John Silah's brother George Silah also kidnapped his own two teenage sons, and the brothers lived on the lam with their sons for more than two years before being caught in the Netherlands in 2010.
During that period, Stackhouse made repeated, emotional public pleas for help to the news media, telling her son she missed him.
"I feel her pain. I've been there," Stackhouse said Wednesday.
On Thursday, she declined to speak on camera.
The Silahs were sentenced last year to 27 months in federal prison after entering guilty pleas. According to federal online inmate records, the pair was released Oct. 23, 2012.
Police said they were examining any possible connection between Wednesday's crime and the earlier kidnapping – among many other avenues of investigation.