A missing Florida teenage girl who police said was traveling north with a 27-year-old high school soccer coach has been found safe in New York, a Florida sheriff’s office says.
Caitlyn Frisina, 17, was found on Friday, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, which tweeted the news. More information about how or where she was located wasn’t immediately available.
The coach, Rian Rodriguez, was taken into custody without incident. Frisina’s parents have been notified, authorities said.
Investigators say Frisina was seen on surveillance video in Georgia and North Carolina with Rodriguez, who is a boy’s soccer coach at Fort White High School, where Frisina is a senior and reportedly plays on the girls’ soccer team.
According to a missing persons report, Frisina left her home in Lake City through her bedroom window, taking some clothes and her wallet but leaving her cellphone, which had been erased of data. Police said in the report they obtained a text message the girl sent to a friend that indicates she is with Rodriguez and that there “may be a relationship” between Frisina and the coach.
Sheriff Mark Hunter said Wednesday Rodriguez is a friend of Frisina’s family and is the assistant coach on the boy’s soccer team at her high school, which Frisina’s father coaches. The Columbia County School District has since suspended Rodriguez.
Hunter didn’t detail the relationship between Frisina and Rodriguez and said his primary focus was to bring the teen home safely.
“She’s with a person who is 10 years her senior in a supervisory capacity over her as a coach,” Hunter said. “She is legally a juvenile. Although she’s 17 years old, she’s still unable to consent by law.”
Hunter said Rodriguez faces possible criminal charges of interference with child custody and could face further charges depending on what the investigation yields.
Her parents had issued an emotional plea for her return. Her mother, Scarlet Frisina, said she believed Rodriguez manipulated the teen.
“I know that she to some degree left on her own. But I absolutely believe that she was lied to and totally misled,” Scarlet Frisina said.