Where is Amy Yu now? Start Here

By Chege Karomo — ON Jan 27, 2023
Amy Yu

Amy Yu was seven or eight when she met Kevin Esterly and his family in church at Lowhill Township. The duo’s relationship grew over the years, and in November 2017, Yu signed school documents describing Esterly as her stepfather. 

In February 2018, Yu’s mother, Miu Luu, went to pick Yu up from school and found that Esterly had already picked her up. She discovered he was listed as Yu’s stepfather and had signed Yu out of school at least 10 times. 

Alarmed, Luu informed authorities, who warned Esterly and his wife, Stacey, to stay away from Amy. Esterly did the opposite: In March 2018, he withdrew $4,000 from Stacey’s account and flew Yu to Mexico. 

Amy Yu left the spotlight after authorities took her back to Pennsylvania

Two days after Esterly and Yu fled, the police discovered that the pair had boarded a flight to Cancun, Mexico. Luu, Amy’s mother, told ABC News: “[I’m] waiting and waiting and praying, and I don’t know if they can catch him [Esterly] or not. I never thought he would act like that.”

Esterly’s wife, Stacey, released a statement through her lawyer saying she and Esterly, a father of four daughters, had fought over his relationship with Amy Yu. Stacey said she caught Esterly signing Amy out of school and renting an apartment near Yu’s home. 

A joint operation by Mexican and U.S. authorities located the pair in Playa del Carmen, a resort city. Mexican police handed Yu and Esterly over to the Miami Police Department, which transported the couple to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“HSI is happy that United States citizen, Amy Yu, a 16-year-old juvenile runaway, has been safely returned to Pennsylvania,” Marlon Miller, an HSI agent, told ABC7. Police Chief Glen Dorney affirmed that Amy Yu was healthy and would be reunited with her mother. “I’m really happy,” Luu said. “Please let everyone know.” 

In July 2018, Amy Yu ran off again: she and two girls fled from VisionQuest residential program for at-risk youth. The trio ended up in western Pennsylvania after getting a lift from a truck driver. 

Two days after the trio’s disappearance, authorities found Yu and one girl in Johnstown and the other girl in nearby Bedford. “They’re safe and OK,” Johnstown Police Chief Robert Johnson told The Morning Call

Amy Yu, who’s in her early twenties, left the spotlight after her second disappearing act; her whereabouts are unclear. 

Kevin Esterly was released on parole after spending three years in prison

Amy Yu testified on behalf of Kevin Esterly at his sentencing trial. In a deal with prosecutors, Esterly pleaded guilty to the corruption of a minor. In exchange, felony charges, including one that required him to register as a sex offender, were dropped. 

Esterly and Yu failed to convince Judge Maria Dantos that their relationship wasn’t physical. “You asked me to make some unreasonable leaps about your relationship with Amy that I’m not willing to make,” Dantos told Esterly

Yu described Kevin Esterly as a father figure who offered to travel with her as she escaped an allegedly abusive home. “He said if I was going, he would have to go,” Yu said. “I realize Kevin made a horrible mistake and should have physically stopped me.”

Yu claimed Esterly regretted the decision to leave his family and knew he would face prison time. “I have never seen a grown man cry like that,” Yu said. However, photos of the couple laughing and smiling while sipping alcoholic beverages undermined Yu’s claims. 

Esterly’s wife, Stacey, testified that Esterly left the family penniless. Stacey said she was struggling to provide for the couple’s four children. Miu Luu, Amy’s mother, said the incident shattered her family. 

“My decisions were selfish and immature and I let my arrogance get the best of me,” Esterly said, sobbing. Dantos, clearly in an unforgiving mood, said:

“All of these things you stated you did for your children, all of that was done while you were living a second life. What would you think of a man who took one of your own daughters out of the country and hid her?”

Dantos sentenced Kevin Esterly to 2.5 to 5 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed. Esterly was released on parole in April 2022 following a three-year stint in state prison. In early 2023, 69News reported that Kevin Esterly faced legal trouble, but hadn’t violated the terms of his parole. 

Though Stacey believed that Esterly and Yu’s relationship wasn’t physical, she filed for divorce from Esterly shortly after the couple returned from Mexico. She told Dr. Phil:

“In my heart, I don’t want to believe they were sexual and I’m hoping that this was just an infatuation with him trying to help her as a father figure and he got sucked into something.”