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Mother Of 2 Who Vanished 18 Years Ago In Northwest Found Alive In SoCal

FONTANA (CBS) —  Eighteen years ago, Judith "Yudith" Bello – a married mother of two -- went missing in Stanwood, Washington. She disappeared without a trace and was feared dead.

But several days ago, Bello turned up very much alive in Fontana. She had a new identity, a new life and a new family.

Jeff Nguyen, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, went delving into the mystery.

Ysidro Bello got a call from his former sister-in-law -- saying she was alive. "Oh, I feel very happy," he told a reporter in Washington, "Very happy. Whole family, whole friends, they're excited you know."

Nguyen showed neighbors Bello's picture and they confirmed she lived in the house with her husband and three children. They said she moved into their neighborhood about six months ago.

That Bello had a new family came as something of a shock to Bello's former family – they say she left behind two children when she vanished in 1993.

Back then, she was scheduled to pick up a son from daycare but she never showed up. Her car was found abandoned.

Relatives say Bello, then 28, ran off because her former husband was abusive.

She apparently came out of hiding after she saw herself profiled in a deck of cards about missing persons cases. She called detectives to say her case was solved.

Kevin Prentiss of the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department said Bello can't be charged with a crime. "She's done nothing, we're just happy that she's alive and well. And we'll move on from there."

Friday evening, Nguyen made contact with Bello -- outside her home -- but she denied his request to tell her story.

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