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Florida teen missing with her school’s soccer coach found safe in New York, deputies say

Caitlyn Frisina was found safe in Syracuse, New York, on Friday afternoon, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Caitlyn Frisina was found safe in Syracuse, New York, on Friday afternoon, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported. Columbia County Sheriff’s Office

The case of a missing Florida teenager and a soccer coach at her school ended Friday night in a red Mercury Sable in Syracuse, New York.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that soccer player Caitlyn Frisina, 17, and a (now former) assistant boys soccer coach at her school were found Friday afternoon in New York in the car they were last seen in. The assistant coach, 27-year-old Rian Rodriguez, was taken into custody. Caitlyn was detained.

The teenage soccer player had been missing since Sunday and her parents were frantic.

Investigators say the high school senior was seen on surveillance video at a gas station in St. Mary’s, Georgia, with Rodriguez in the red Mercury Sable.

cait
Missing person poster from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies say a camera captured footage of Caitlyn withdrawing $200 from an ATM there. They were also spotted hours later at a pawn shop in North Carolina.

Caitlyn’s parents, Scarlet and Ward Frisina, appeared at a news conference Wednesday in Lake City where they begged their daughter to contact them even though Caitlyn apparently has no phone (investigators say she wiped her cell clean by resetting it to its factory settings).

“If you see this, pumpkin, we just want you to know that we love you and we miss you, and we need to know that you're safe,” said Caitlyn’s mother. “We need to know that you're OK. Call somebody. Let somebody know. We love you and we miss you, and we're waiting here with open arms.”

Caitlyn’s dad, who is the girls soccer coach at Fort White High School, the same school where Rodriguez had worked, also posted a plea on his FB page:

“Please call us! I know you are not a little kid. We want to hear your voice and make sure you are in a good place and with someone who will truly be able to care for you.”

In an interview with CBS News, Scarlet admitted that her daughter could have been carrying on a romantic relationship with Rodriguez that went unnoticed. Rodriguez has been suspended by school officials, according to news reports.

“That’s what we wonder… something was going on. We just don't know what.”

Mom doesn’t think the teen, even though she may have left on her own volition, is thinking clearly.

“I know that she to some degree left on her own. But I absolutely believe that she was lied to and totally misled.”

Caitlyn also had a boyfriend, with whom she spent Thanksgiving.

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