NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – The North Richland Hills teen missing for more than a week before being located in Mexico is now back safe with her family here in North Texas. According to NRH police Ruby Contreras, 14, was reunited with her family Friday night.
From the couch in her living room, Ruby says she’s happy to be home and made a mistake that she will not make again. “Do not talk to strangers at all. I mean, I was basically brainwashed by him or obligated. So, I didn’t have much of a choice.”
Police now confirm Ruby met her accused abductor, Stephan Cox, on a social media website. Officials say the 26-year-old man somehow got Ruby to agree to leave her family and go with him. Cox, who was facing charges for improper contact with another 14-year-old in Ohio, met Ruby near North Oaks Middle School in Haltom City.
“He definitely enticed her to leave and had taken a bus from Ohio to meet her down at school. Got her from school, they went to the bus station in Fort Worth and went out to El Paso,” North Richland Hills police investigator Keith Bauman explained.
The pair later walked across the Mexican border into Juarez.
On May 1, a surveillance photo of the missing teen and Cox was released showing the two at a convenience store in Abilene. From there, authorities used bus records and surveillance video to determine the two got off the bus in El Paso. The search became a multi- agency venture involving the FBI, Texas Rangers, and El Paso police.
Authorities in Juarez, Mexico had seen the media reports, spotted the two and detained them. By May 2, North Richland Hills police announced that the two had been found in Mexico.
Suspect Cox has also returned to Texas. He was arrested on Kidnapping charges and remains in police custody in El Paso, where he awaits extradition back to North Texas.
NRH police said Ruby’s safe return was due in part to extensive media coverage from North Texas to Mexico and the work of several law enforcement agencies — including the Texas Rangers, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service.
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