Reporting Joel Thomas
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Police have released a new surveillance picture of missing North Richland Hills 14-year-old Ruby Contreras and the man she is traveling with, suspected child molester Stephan Cox. It was taken at a convenience store in Abilene. Investigators think it was just a pit stop as they continued to El Paso where they were last seen.
CBS 11 has learned Cox fled from Ohio where he was facing a charge of improper contact with another 14-year-old after luring a Pennsylvania girl to take her family’s SUV and drive to Ohio to meet him. Ohio police caught the two during a routine traffic stop. Cox was released to house arrest after an Ohio judge waived a 20-thousand dollar bond. Police say it appears in the surveillance photo Ruby Contreras has no idea of Cox’s past.
“They’re wearing different clothing — or she’s wearing different clothing,” said North Richland Hills police detective Keith Bauman. “She may not even know she’s in danger. She’s simply walking around with this individual.”
Ruby’s father, Alofonso Contreras, says he’s never seen or heard about 26-year-old Cox until police linked him to his daughter’s disappearance. The family is handing out flyers and holding out hope that someone will knows something about Ruby’s whereabouts and how she met Cox.
On her Twitter account last month, Ruby Contreras wrote: “Might as well be getting used to not being with my sister #whatever i’ll be fine.”
Back in January, she tweeted: “The only things ever keeping me in Texas are my brother and my sister.”
CBS 11’s Joel Thomas talked to the mother of the Pennsylvania girl by phone, who says this could have been prevented if Cox had been kept in jail.
“I’m questioning my sanity because it makes no sense to me he was allowed to go free,” she said. CBS 11 is not revealing her name to protect her daughter’s identity.
She says Cox also tried to contact her 16-year-old daughter by computer. She is convinced Cox has made a profession of child trafficking.
“He owes somebody more bodies. Unfortunately, Ruby fell into that trap,” she said.
Police in North Richland Hills say if Cox is caught in Texas, they will likely extradite him back to Ohio, where there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
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