Rialto police say the 17-year-old met the man online and eventually traveled to New York to be with him. The teenager’s parents called police when she went missing.
Authorities were able to gather together that she was in contact with Elijah Clark, a 24-year-old New Yorker, on social media. Investigators contacted Clark and said it was immediately clear to them that something was wrong.
When Detective Agnes Watson called him and recognized herself, he hung up. That’s when Watson says she sent an SMS with the number.
“I received an SMS from the suspect’s phone … and it was a text from the victim asking“ please help me. He won’t let me go. I want to go home. Please bring me home. ” And then they said, “Don’t reply to this text message, or I’ll have problems.”
Rialto police called New York City police, who found she was being held against her will. She met with the family on Mother’s Day.
Clark has been taken into custody and faces charges of kidnapping.
Police hope the incident will serve as a reminder to parents of what their children are doing on social media.
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