MEXICO CITY – A teenage girl at the center of a U.S. custody case appeared in a Mexican court Tuesday, two weeks after authorities mistakenly seized another girl with a similar name and sent her across the border.
Alondra Diaz Garcia was presented to a court in Los Reyes, Michoacan state, for a hearing to confirm her identity and to consider a demand for custody made by Dorotea Garcia, a Houston, Texas, woman who claims to be her mother.
The 13-year-old girl is believed to have been taken by her father to Mexico in 2007 without Garcia's consent.
Garcia traveled to Mexico on Monday and told local reporters: "I'm dying to hold her in my arms, and I hope to return with her."
Alicia Diaz, the girl's aunt who accompanied her to the court, said her brother, Reynaldo Diaz, decided to leave the girl with her grandmother to personally hand her over to Garcia.
She said she was sure Alondra would be happy to be with Garcia, adding, "We will miss her."
Pedro de la Rosa, Garcia's lawyer, called the encounter a happy moment and said Alondra Diaz was choosing to go with her mother. He added that Garcia would be willing to withdraw legal complaints against Alondra's father if she regains custody.
"That was one of the conditions, but I reiterate: First we have to see that diligence is done rather than proclaim victory," de la Rosa said.
The search attracted international attention last month when Mexican officials seized a different girl, 14-year-old Alondra Luna, and the judge ordered her into Garcia's custody despite protests by the teen's parents. A video of the girl resisting police after the court ruling spread widely in television broadcasts and online, prompting protests for her return.
Alondra Luna traveled with Garcia to Texas, but DNA tests done days later revealed the mistake and she was returned to her family in Mexico.
Judge Cinthia Elodia Mercado, who ordered Alondra Luna sent to Texas, continues to preside over Garcia's case.