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.