NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas teen who disappeared last week has been found safe in Mexico. Authorities tracked down Ruby Contreras and the suspected child molester she was with. Now the 14-year-old girl is in the process of being returned to North Richland Hills and 26-year-old Stephan Andrew Cox is in police custody.
News that the two had been found came during a late morning North Richland Hills Police Department press conference. “We have received word that the two individuals are in Mexico. They’re safe and we are working to get them back to the U.S.,” announced NRH Investigator Keith Bauman.
The news was something Ruby’s family had been waiting days to hear. “One week I cannot sleep. I cannot do nothing [sic],” the teen’s father, Alfonso Contreras, said. “And now I’m happy. My baby is safe.”
Police believe Ruby, a student at North Oaks Middle School in Haltom City, was lured away by Cox, who had just fled Ohio. He’s facing a charge of unlawful sexual contact with a minor there.
According to local police, authorities in Mexico picked up both Ruby and Stephan Cox Thursday morning. Investigators would not say exactly where in Mexico the pair was found.
Family members were told the two are safe at a U.S. consulate in Mexico.
Now officials must settle into the legal and bureaucratic process of bringing them back to the U.S. – a process that could take days or even weeks. “There are a lot of things that have to happen behind the scenes to make this happen. This is more than just a local investigation,” explained Bauman. “This is now on an international scale involving the Mexican government, which has been very gracious to us.”
Officials here in North Texas believe the pair were located thanks in part to the Wednesday release of a surveillance photo showing the missing teen and man at a convenience store in Abilene. Bauman said the photo, “Played a great role in the Mexican officials being able to locate the two people we were looking for.”
Law enforcement agencies in North Richland Hills will work with police in Ohio and federal officials to sort out what crimes to charge Cox with and who will file them.
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