Surveillance footage confirms that a missing northern Florida teen is with a soccer coach who works at the girl’s school, police said.
Caitlyn Frisina, 17, is believed to have climbed out of a window in her family’s home in Columbia County after wiping her cell phone clean and leaving it behind sometime late Saturday or early Sunday, authorities said.
She then took $200 out of an ATM in St. Marys, Ga.
The teen soccer star was later seen in surveillance footage at a Pilot gas station in St. George, Ga., with Rian Rodriguez, a 27-year-old staffer at Fort White High School, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
“Video from the store showed Rian and Caitlyn, which confirmed to us they were together,” Sheriff Mark Hunter said.
They were also seen early Sunday evening at a pawn shop in Fayetteville, N.C., Hunter said.
The pair is believed to be travelling north in a red Mercury Sable with a Florida license plate Z04CSC.
Rodriguez is a friend of Frisina’s family and the assistant coach on the boys’ soccer team at her high school, which her father coaches, Hunter told reporters.
The girl’s father, Ward Frisina, said he helped Rodriguez get a job as his assistant coach and checked with him after his daughter went missing, but he didn’t pick up his phone, WJAX-TV reported.
The Columbia County School District has since suspended Rodriguez.
Police said in a missing person’s report that they obtained a text message Frisina sent to a friend that indicates she is with Rodriguez and that there “may be a relationship,” between them, CBS News reported.
“She is 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. That’s our concern, and our concern of course is that we don’t know she’s OK.”
Rodriguez faces possible criminal charges of interference with child custody and could face further charges should the investigation find they’re warranted.
The teen’s mother, Scarlet Frisina, tearfully pleaded on Wednesday for her daughter to come home.
“Let somebody know that you are safe,” she said. “Caitlyn, if you can see this, Pumpkin, we just want you to know that we love you and we miss you and we need to know that you're safe.”