Melissa Hinako Braden

Melissa, circa 2006; Age-progression to age 14 (circa 2019); Ryoko Uchiyama

  • Missing Since 03/16/2006
  • Missing From Los Angeles, California
  • Classification Family Abduction
  • Sex Female
  • Race Asian, Biracial, White
  • Date of Birth 04/06/2005 (14)
  • Age 11 months old
  • Height and Weight 2'8, 26 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Biracial (Asian/Caucasian) female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Melissa has a dark-colored birthmark on her right shoulder, a small reddish birthmark on the back of her neck inside the hairline, and a dark-colored birthmark on her lower back. She may go by her middle name, Hinako, or the nickname Hina. She is of Japanese descent and may use the last name Uchiyama.

Details of Disappearance

Melissa was last seen in Los Angeles, California on March 16, 2006. She was abducted by her non-custodial mother, Ryoko Uchiyama. A felony warrant for child custody deprivation was issued for her on on March 27, 2006, and an FBI warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution was issued for her on May 15, 2006.

Uchiyama and Melissa's father, Patrick Braden, lived together but never married. Patrick stated that when Melissa was 11 months old, Uchiyama abruptly announced she was moving back to her native Japan and taking the child with her. Patrick did not want to be separated from his daughter and went to family court to dispute the move. Uchiyama was ordered to remain within the United States and to surrender her passport. Instead she fled to Japan with Melissa.

A photo of Uchiyama is posted with this case summary. Her date of birth is October 15, 1973, making her 32 years old at the time of Melissa's abduction. She's described as Asian, 5'7 and 105 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Uchiyama was born in Japan and is a Japanese citizen. She is believed to have had training as a kindergarten schoolteacher. She enjoys antique shopping. Uchiyama may use the last name Lin or the first name Ayoko. She has a scar on her abdomen.

Patrick believes his daughter and Uchiyama may be living in Japan with Uchiyama's parents, but Melissa's exact whereabouts are unknown and her case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
  • 213-974-3607
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Los Angeles, California Office
  • 310-477-6565

Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 14, 2019; age-progression updated.