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Date Released: 6/16/2005
Subject: Abducted Girl Returned
Contact: Brenda Gaoney, PIO
Case No#: 200503287
Released By: Brenda Gainey

Location: McKinleyville/Texas

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is please to announce that a three year-old McKinleyville girl who had been abducted by her father has been found safe in Texas. The Sheriff’s Office originally received a report of two missing persons on June 02, 2005. It was reported that the father, Eric Gotsch, 31, who is married to the child’s mother, had not shown up for work that day nor had he dropped off the child at day care. As the investigation continued over the next few days, it became evident that Eric had taken the girl and left the area.

Late last week deputies discovered that Eric had likely fled to Texas with the girl. The Sheriff’s Office contacted the FBI who then assisted with the investigation. With an investigative team that included the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, agents from the FBI, and a District Attorney Investigator, Eric’s exact location was uncovered.

Eric was taken into custody last evening by the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. At the time of his capture, Eric was in the company of another man who had an outstanding felony warrant in Texas. The three year-old girl was also with Eric. The child was placed in protective custody and she is expected to be reunited with her mother today. Eric will likely be extradited from Texas to California where he will be charged with Child Concealment, a felony.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wishes to express its thanks to the FBI and the District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this investigation. Additionally, it should be noted that the FBI received tremendous cooperation from the eBay Internet auction site and their cooperation with the FBI was instrumental in the capture of Eric Gotsch.