Wednesday, April 7, 2010

An Abducted Child Inspires A Wise Latina To Get Involved

Today is a very important day for Paula Prendiz Rangel, a mother and grandmother in Goodyear, Arizona.  But she's quick to say it's not about her. Fifteen years ago today was the last time Deana Hebert of Houston saw her little girl, Bianca.

In February, 2009, Paula found out about Deana's nightmare by accident. They met through MySpace where Paula showcases her original dolls. Paula says "I went to Deana's MySpace page and it said she was looking for her daughter. Something came over me and I felt I needed to help."

Bianca was only 18-months-old when her parents divorced. Texas Family courts gave Deana full custody of Bianca. Her ex-husband, Juan Lozano was granted weekend visits. On April 7, 1995, Lozano picked up his baby girl for a weekend visit and never returned.

Since that February day, Paula has been spending numerous hours a week working the phones, the internet, social media and much more in hopes of finding a lead to Bianca.  Deana believes Lozano took their daughter to Mexico and has hidden her there for 15 years.

Though Paula and Deana live hundreds of miles apart and have never met in person---they consider themselves sisters. They talk several times a week or send each other emails.

Paula says "I taught Deana how to get her Congressman, the FBI, the media and others involved in Bianca's case." Deana got the attention of political leaders in Texas. Today, Texas Congressman, Pete Olson plans to have a press conference to bring attention to the girl's abduction.

Deana says "Paula has given me strength and hope when I've needed it most." The Houston mother has posted several videos on YouTube in hopes that her daughter will see them someday.

Paula is confident that Bianca and her mother will be reunited, but believes international child abductions need more attention by law enforcement in the U.S. "I know of many children who have been taken from their parents to other countries and no one is paying attention to their cases" says Paula.

Now this 58-year-old grandmother wants to become a private investigator. She believes it's her calling to help find abducted children.

Paula adds "People always ask me why I do this for Deana, and I say she was a woman who thought she had no voice. The least I can do is stand with her and tell her that she and Bianca do matter."

What would Bianca look like today? Check out this progession slideshow:


For more information on international child abductions by parents or other family members:

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