Mother of Pennsylvania teen taken to Mexico by man, 45, sues him and the girl's school

The mother of a 16-year-old girl who was taken out of her Pennsylvania high school and brought to Mexico by a man with whom she reportedly had a secret relationship is suing him and the girl’s school for financial and emotional damages.

The aggrieved mom, Mui Luu, filed suit on Monday. In the lawsuit, she alleged that Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School, the school that allowed Amy Yu to be repeatedly signed out of class by Kevin Esterly, 45,  violated her constitutional right to her daughter’s safety by letting him be listed as Yu’s stepfather on an emergency form.

According to court documents, he signed Yu out of school 10 times between November 2017 and February of this year.

This March 2018 photo provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida shows Kevin Esterly, of New Tripoli, Pa., facing charges including interfering with the custody of a child after authorities say he took a 16-year-old girl from Allentown, Pa., Amy Yu, out of school and to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in March 2018. Amy Yu's mother, Mui Luu, filed a federal lawsuit Monday, May 7, 2018, alleging Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School in Bethlehem, Pa., violated the mother's constitutional rights to her daughter's safety by allowing Esterly to be listed as Yu's stepfather on an emergency form, and alleging Esterly interfered with custody of the girl and caused her psychological and reputational damage. (Miami-Dade Police Department via AP)

Kevin Esterly, of New Tripoli, Pa. Authorities say he took Amy Yu out of school and brought her to Mexico.  (Miami-Dade Police Department )

Esterly is also named in the lawsuit, accused of interfering with the custody of Luu’s daughter and thus causing psychological and reputational damage.  

The suit calls for unspecified punitive damages.

Last month, federal agents and Mexican authorities located the missing teen and Esterly in Playa del Carmen, a Mexican coastal resort town. Yu was escorted back to the United States, and plans to extradite Esterly back into the country were made.


Police say they believe the young girl, who went missing on March 5, left willingly, and that she and Esterly had indulged a romantic relationship after meeting at church a few years ago.

Esterly is facing a third-degree felony charge, accused of interfering with the custody of a child.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.