Missing Kennewick teen could be in danger; Amber Alert issued

Tri-City HeraldDecember 5, 2013 

A missing Kennewick teen whom police issued an Amber Alert for Thursday afternoon could be in danger, police said.

Elizabeth Romero, 14, was last seen getting into her 19-year-old boyfriend’s green Ford Escape Wednesday around 11:15 a.m. at Phoenix High School in Kennewick, said Sgt. Ken Lattin.

Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Edwardo Fabien Flores Rosales, is wanted for kidnapping, police said. A warrant is expected to be issued for his arrest.

Elizabeth was reported missing by her mother around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Lattin said. A nationwide alert was issued around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

A video released Thursday night shows Elizabeth walking across a parking lot at the high school and getting into a green sports utility vehicle. She is wearing a white top and dark pants, and is carrying a backpack and pink purse. She is 5-foot-3 and weighs 130 pounds.

Information and text messages police received lead them to believe Elizabeth possibly didn’t run away with her boyfriend willingly, Lattin said.

Elizabeth’s mother got text messages Thursday from an unknown phone number that claimed to be Elizabeth. The messages said the couple were headed for Mexico. When the mother asked for a photo of Elizabeth, the conversation ended.

“When she asked to send a current photo and that request was refused, that’s the biggest red flag that tells us she might be in danger,” Lattin said.

Investigators have received other information that points to Elizabeth being in danger, Lattin said. He declined to say what that information is.

Local police have notified the U.S. Border Patrol in case the couple tries to leave the country, Lattin said.

Elizabeth and Rosales have been dating for a short period of time. Rosales is from Kennewick and has been working in the area for a while, Lattin said. He has family in Oregon, though police are unsure if he’s headed that way.

Rosales is 5-foot-9, 225 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. His SUV is a mid-2000s model with a temporary license tag in the window. A few hours before she went missing, Elizabeth posted to her Facebook account “Buenos Dias,” or good morning, with a smiley face and heart.

Police officials told the Herald there is no indication via social media or messages that Elizabeth planned to run away.

The Kennewick School District is cooperating with law enforcement and is referring all questions to the Kennewick Police Department, officials said.

Anyone with information about Elizabeth’s or Rosales’ whereabouts can call 911 or the Kennewick Police Department’s non-emergency line at 509-628-0333.

Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com: Twitter; @Ty_richardson

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