Abducted Girl Returned After Police Officer’s Eight Year Pursuit

Sporty new Burbank Police emblem on doors of Chevrolet Caprice. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In 2005, Gabriela Barrett abducted her then 3-year-old daughter and fled to Mexico to protect her from her allegedly verbally abusive father. Burbank Police has had an open investigation since this occurred in 2005.


At the time of the incident, police determined the mother and daughter were somewhere near Tijuana, Mexico, but were unable to locate the pair, even with the help of Mexican law enforcement authorities. The 3-year-old was entered into the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children.

An arrest warrant was issued for Gabriela Barrett and entered into the national database.

Burbank Police Detective Dave Kleinfeld never gave up searching for the abducted child and recently located an adult son of Gabriela Barrett. Through her adult son, Detective Kleinfeld began communicating with Gabriela, encouraging her to return to the United States with her daughter.

The mother and daughter have lived outside of Tijuana since the original abduction. Gabriela agreed to return to the United States with her daughter to address the abduction case. Detective Kleinfeld made arrangements with United States Customs and Border Protection for Gabriela to surrender at the border crossing.

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On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, members of the Burbank Police Department, with the assistance of United States Border Protection officials at San Ysidro, took custody of Gabriela as she entered the United States. Gabriela was arrested for the outstanding warrant, transported to the Burbank Jail, and booked for 278.5(A) PC-Maliciously concealing a child from a lawful custodian. The child, now 11 years old, was interviewed by Department of Child/Family Services and was ultimately released to a family member.



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