Found: Missing 17-Year-Old Teen Discovered After Fleeing Across Country

December 01, 2017Dec 01, 2017

The parents of a 17-year-old girl who went missing with a soccer coach from her high school are breathing a sigh of relief Friday afternoon after she was found safe over a thousand miles away from home. The teen disappeared from her bedroom Saturday night in Columbia County, Florida, between Tallahassee and Jacksonville. 

Caitlyn Frisina's parents pled for the public's help in finding the pair after she was found missing Sunday morning and was captured on surveillance footage with 27-year-old Rian Rodriguez later in the day, heading north through Georgia and the Carolinas, according to ABC News. Frisina had left behind her phone and erased its contents.

For days, authorities have investigated clues that Frisina and Rodriguez were in a romantic relationship despite Frisina being a minor. The surveillance images that captured them did not make it look like Frisina was being taken away by force. Rodriguez was a family friend who got his coaching job thanks to Frisina's dad.

After Sunday, though, the leads stopped coming in, driving Frisina's mom frantic with worry about her daughter's safety. Authorities advised the public that they believed the pair could be heading to Pennsylvania, New York, or Canada, where they had family.

On Friday, their suspicions were proven correct. Frisina was found in Syracuse, New York. According to NBC affiliate 11 Alive, she was found during a traffic stop. A New York State Police officer identified the same red Mercury that they were believed to have fled in. Pictures of the car were widely distributed. 

Rodriguez was taken into custody. Further details on their discovery or whether or not Rodriguez will be charged were not immediately available.

"God is good!" exclaimed Kim Allison after seeing the Columbia County Sheriff's Office announcement on Facebook.

Deby Barnett added, "Another GREAT job by LAW ENFORCEMENT!! So little praise for all you do but some of [us] really appreciate all you do!!!"

Praise the Lord that she was found safely! In other news, Kathie Lee Giffords is getting a lot of hate for her own response to Matt Lauer’s scandal.

Next: Kathie Lee Gifford Facing Major Backlash After Comments About Matt LauerDec 01, 2017