The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office in Washington State was contacted by Gabriella Mercedes on July 27, 2005.
She phoned authorities from a Taco Bell in Lynnwood and identified herself as a juvenile missing person. She asked that police contact her at the restaurant.
Police say when they arrived at the fast-food restaurant, Gabriella was alone, well-dressed and healthy. She told them that she was ready to go home. She was reunited with her mother hours later.
"She was excited and crying at the same time," said Sherry Coty, an aunt who said she had spoken with both the girl and her mother, Mary Mercedes, yesterday. Coty said Mercedes said she had been in Lynnwood since she had disappeared.
Lynnwood Police Officer Clarke Savell said officers often deal with runaways, but he had never seen a reunion turn out the way this one did. "Her mom came in the lobby of the police department and they both were crying and hugging," Savell said. "Then the mom got me in a bear hug for about 25 seconds and gave me a big kiss on the neck - and I just kept telling her 'she's here, she's OK, she's OK."
Police have not said where the girl has been for the past couple of months.
Deputy Rich Niebusch of the sheriff's office said he was unable to confirm whether the girl was held prisoner but that the sheriff's office would continue its investigation. "We haven't talked to them, or her," said Niebusch, a reference to Lynnwood police and the girl. "It'll probably be a few days."