Missing Kennewick teen found in Mexico

Tyler RichardsonDecember 10, 2013 

— Police have canceled an Amber Alert for a missing Kennewick teen after the girl was located Tuesday in Mexico.

Local authorities are working to figure out how Elizabeth Romero ended up in Jalisco, Mexico. The 14-year-old called her mother to say she was not hurt.

Police declined to say when the Phoenix High School student called her mom or if she willingly crossed the border with her 19-year-old boyfriend, Edwardo Fabien Flores Rosales.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions,” Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said. “This case is far from over or far from closed.”

Rosales is still wanted by police for kidnapping. Authorities believe he is also in Mexico.

Local police used FBI resources Tuesday afternoon to confirm the call came from Jalisco and was made by Elizabeth, Lattin said. The girl’s mother was apparently satisfied that her daughter was safe. The teen has family in Jalisco and the mother was working to get Elizabeth to them.

Police are looking for a second suspect whom they believe helped Rosales flee to Mexico, Lattin said. No further details were released on that suspect.

Officials are working to find out how long the couple has been in Mexico.

A task force led by a local FBI agent has been searching for Elizabeth since she was seen leaving her high school during lunchtime on Dec. 4. She got into a green sports utility vehicle police say was driven by Rosales. The SUV reportedly belonged to his brother, who lives in Rosales’ hometown of Hood River, Ore.

The couple met on Facebook and police believe Rosales was grooming Elizabeth for an abduction, Lattin said. Rosales moved into a house on her block around Thanksgiving.

Elizabeth’s family met Rosales and told police they didn’t approve of the relationship, Lattin said.

Authorities believe Rosales had access to other vehicles and the couple may have parked their vehicle and walked into Mexico.

Elizabeth’s mother got text messages from an unidentified number a day after her daughter was last seen, Lattin said. The messages said they were headed for Mexico. When her mother asked for a picture of Elizabeth, there was no response.

The text messages and Rosales’ move were red flags for authorities that the teen may be in danger, police officials said.

Anyone with information on the case can contact Kennewick police at 509-628-0333.

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

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