FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Police are warning parents to monitor their kids’ social media accounts after they say a 13-year-old South Texas girl was kidnapped by an 18-year-old man she met online.
She was ultimately found safe more than 500 miles away in Mansfield.READ MORE: Texas Experiencing Another COVID-19 Surge
Police arrested the suspect at the center of the Amber Alert early Sunday morning.
Clayton Phillips is now in the Tarrant County Jail, charged with kidnapping.
Police say the two met online.
Once the girl’s parents reported her missing Saturday afternoon, detectives combed through her computer and social media accounts. They tracked her and Phillips to San Antonio.READ MORE: Administrative Court Judge Orders Mask-Wearing To Enter Dallas County Courthouses
“Especially since we found out she left with an older gentleman, who is 18 years old, that causes concern on what’s going to happen to her,” said Martin Sandoval with the Brownsville Police Department. “So that’s why we immediately activated the Amber Alert.”
Phillips’ Kia Optima was ultimately found in Mansfield. Officers say the girl was unharmed, and they were able to reunite her with her family.
“And that’s why it’s very important to pay attention with each Amber Alert, even though it’s not in your area,” Sandoval said. “You might never know when it’s your turn to save your life.”
Even though this Amber Alert had a positive outcome, police say it should serve as a warning to parents to keep a close eye on what their kids are doing online.
“A lot of kids go missing because of conversations that they have on social media, and as parents we have to remind our children that even though they think oh, it’s not going to happen to me,” said Sandoval. “It can happen.”MORE NEWS: Summer Break Ends Early For Some Dallas ISD Schools
Phillips will be extradited to Brownsville so police can question him about what happened.