Bay Area woman held captive 8 months in Mexico found safe, FBI says

July 17, 2023

A San Mateo woman who was kidnapped eight months ago in Mexico is on her way back home, the FBI announced Saturday. Monica de Leon Barba, 29, went missing on Nov. 29, 2022 while walking her dog in Tepatitlán, Jalisco. Surveillance footage released by the FBI showed Barba appearing to be confronted by several suspects before being forced inside a silver Volkswagen Jetta. The videos revealed that at least five suspects were involved in the kidnapping, the FBI said in a news release. "Our relief and joy at the safe return of Monica and Gael is profound,” Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp of the FBI San Francisco Field Office said in a statement.