The girl was the subject of a custody battle between the father, Sophie’s mother Kelly Long, and her aunt, whom she was sent to live with in May 2021.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 17, 2021. It has since been updated.
Sophie Long, an 11-year-old girl from Texas, was reported missing last year. Long, who was 10 years old at the time, was last seen on July 12, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. After months of searching, the girl was finally found safe, in an undisclosed foreign country, along with her father, Michael Long. According to Fox News, Michael had refused to hand over Sophie to her maternal aunt amid a custody dispute.
The man is now in police custody a felony warrant for interference with child custody and is awaiting extradition, per WECT. “Many months of determined work by my deputies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals paid off this morning. We are so happy that Sophie is safe,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said. In a statement shared on social media, the sheriff's office confirmed Sophie "has been located in a foreign country and is in protective custody" as "arrangements are being made for her safe return to her family in the United States."
Missing Texas girl Sophie Long found in foreign country, father in custodyhttps://t.co/c5Q4kXUcXZ— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 12, 2021
The department, which did not specifically identify which country Sophie had been found in, stated the U.S. government is "working on the extradition of Long back to Collin County, Texas." According to the Independent, the girl was the subject of a custody battle between the father, Sophie’s mother Kelly Long, and her aunt. Sophie was sent in May to live with her aunt. Sophie was last spotted on 12 July in Seguin, northeast of San Antonio. Long, 43, was set to appear in court for a hearing in McKinney, Texas in August.
Press Release - 12.11.21— Collin Co. Sheriff (@CollinCoSO) December 11, 2021
For Immediate Release:
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office confirms that Sophie Long has been located in a foreign country and is in protective custody. Arrangements are being made for her safe return to her family in the United States. pic.twitter.com/sdR0milSaj
His 36-year-old ex-wife filed a motion in which she opposed a jury trial and asked that Long be sent to prison for 18 months for hiding Sophie and refusing to hand her over. Long is also pushing for her ex-husband to be placed on probation for 10 years, that he be held on a $20,000 bond, and that he pay for all legal expenses. In July, Long was ordered to pay $20,000 for therapy for Long, Sophie, and her two brothers.
“I’d absolutely go to jail to protect Sophie. I’d do anything for her. She’s a 10-year-old child,” said Long in August. “She shouldn’t have to be dealing with this stuff. These high conflict custody cases, this wasn’t about getting into a custody case. This was about getting justice for my daughter,” he added. “It turned into that because the system didn’t take action as they promised they would. People like to say this is a vendetta against my ex. No, it’s not,” Long told the outlet. “There’s no way I’m going to turn my back on her now,” he added.
Texas girl, Sophie Long, 11, who disappeared over summer with her dad who did not have custody after she told him moms fiance was molesting her, was found safe living with father in a foreign country, authorities say, extradition in progress. https://t.co/GKXwj7YTx0 pic.twitter.com/SEPjobeihS— Watchman.Today (@StaffEditorial) December 12, 2021
Cover Image Source: Texas Department Of Public Safety