updated 7/31/2005 4:56:51 AM ET 2005-07-31T08:56:51

An 8-year-old girl was abducted by a convicted sex offender who took her to Mexico, where the two were found staying in a shelter, authorities said.

Officials in Mexico and the United States said the girl was sexually assaulted by Fernando Aguerro, who is accused of kidnapping her from her home near Reno on July 22.

The girl was reunited with her mother, who had a romantic relationship with Aguerro, on Saturday.

The girl’s name was reported as authorities searched for her, but the Associated Press does not normally identify victims of sexual assault.

Aguerro, 47, and the girl were found in a low-income shelter in Ensenada after people there recognized them from flyers distributed in the state of Baja, Mexico.

The mother flew to San Diego on Saturday with Lyon County sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Page and was reunited with her daughter later in the day.

It was not immediately known when Aguerro may be extradited to the United States. He remains in the custody of Mexican authorities, who want to charge him with rape and kidnapping, NBC TV affiliates in Reno and San Diego reported.

If convicted in Mexico, Aguerro could serve up to 38 years in prison.

Aguerro — who was convicted in Los Angeles in the 1980s of lewdness with a child and served a year in prison — could receive life in prison without parole if convicted of kidnapping in the United States.

The girl’s mother said she did not know that Aguerro was a convicted sex offender until he and her daughter disappeared. “I’m glad everybody prayed” for the girl’s safe return, she said.

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