MAGNA, Utah – A man from Texas is facing significant time behind bars after he’s been charged with kidnapping a 14-year-old Utah girl earlier this week.
Law enforcement authorities initiated an AMBER Alert on Tuesday after Areli Esmeralda Arroyo Osuna was allegedly abducted from the township of Magna, Utah. She was found later that same day in San Antonio, Texas, Law&Crime reported.
In what became a multi-state investigation, Frank David Lopez, 20, is accused of taking the girl, after Osuna was allegedly seen getting into an “older black Nissan Altima” that he was driving.
Authorities believed the pair would likely be found in Texas or Mexico due to the defendant possibly hailing from the Lone Star State and because the two were believed to have been heading south, according to a prior report from news outlet.
Preliminary reports indicated Osuna was a runaway. However, police believed that Osuna, 14, was in serious danger since compulsion was involved.
The Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake networked with the FBI’s office in San Antonio regarding Lopez’s presumed location. Hence, he was found by officers of the San Antonio Police Department walking with Osuna, and was subsequently taken into custody, KUTV reported.
(Utah Amber Alert)
Investigators believe the two had an online relationship of an undisclosed nature and that Lopez likely traveled from Texas to Utah for the purpose of getting Osuna.
“[Osuna] has no relation to [Lopez],” UPD Sergeant Melody Cutler told KSTU. “They met on social media a few months ago. He showed up in town and she did leave with him. Based on what we can find on social media, it does not look like he is from Utah, but then again we are not 100% sure about that.”
Cutler added that the girl’s willingness to leave with the defendant — along with two other people — was reportedly a combination of coercion and threats, according to KSL-TV.
Utah detectives will travel to Texas in order to facilitate the investigation, the sergeant noted.