Melissa Hinako Braden

1 2 AP
Left and Center: Melissa, circa 2006;
Right: Age-progression to age 9 (circa 2014)


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: March 16, 2006 from Los Angeles, California
  • Classification: Family Abduction
  • Date of Birth: April 6, 2005
  • 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.
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    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 photograph and vital statistics for Uchiyama are posted below this case summary. A felony warrant for child custody deprivation was issued for her on on March 27, 2006, and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (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.

    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.


    Ryoko Uchiyama
    Above: Ryoko Uchiyama

    Date of Birth: October 15, 1973
    Age: 32 years old
    Height and Weight: 5'7, 105 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Japanese female. Black hair, 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.


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Los Angeles, California Office


    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
    The Polly Klaas Foundation
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Children's Rights Network Japan


    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 17, 2014; age-progression updated.

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