A missing Florida teenage girl has been found safe, authorities said Friday, nearly one week after the teen allegedly left home with a local soccer coach 10 years her senior.
Caitlyn Frisina, 17, was located in New York, authorities said Friday, with Rian Rodriguez, 27, a family friend and Frisina’s father’s assistant soccer coach at the high school, authorities said. It’s believed she left voluntarily with him, authorities said earlier.
On Friday afternoon, a New York State Police officer in Syracuse spotted the car the two were believed to have fled in, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The officer pulled the car over and took Rodriguez into custody without incident, the sheriff’s office said.
Frisina was detained and her family has been notified, the sheriff’s office said.
The incident began Sunday when Frisina’s parents reported her missing. She had last been seen at her home on Saturday night, authorities said. The teen’s phone — which had been completely erased — was left behind, authorities said.
Frisina and Rodriguez were spotted on cameras in Georgia on Sunday and then at a pawn shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The two were believed to be headed north, authorities said earlier this week. Frisina has family in New York and Rodriguez has family in Canada and possibly Pennsylvania, Murray Smith, public information officer for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Authorities said earlier this week it appeared “a potential relationship” was blossoming between Frisina and Rodriguez before the teen’s disappearance.
Rodriguez had been working as a boys’ soccer coach at Fort White High School, but was suspended pending the investigation, according to a statement from Lex Carswell, superintendent of Columbia County Schools.
Frisina has played soccer at Fort White High School, according to an online roster published by Next College Student Athlete.
Rodriguez and the teen had been around each other “at sports events, but they’ve never been alone at all,” Smith said.