Missing Indiana Teen Found Safe in Missouri: Five Men Arrested

CASS COUNTY, Ind. — In a harrowing incident that highlights the dangers of online activity, a 14-year-old girl from Logansport, Indiana, has been safely recovered after allegedly being kidnapped by five men and transported across state lines to Missouri.

This case has prompted law enforcement and human trafficking experts to urge parents to be vigilant about their children’s internet use.

Quick Police Work and Technology Lead to Swift Recovery

The girl’s father reported her missing late Sunday night, initiating a swift response from authorities. Using advanced technology and efficient police work, the 14-year-old was located in Macon County, Missouri, within six hours—nearly 400 miles from her home in Cass County.

According to court documents, officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol were alerted shortly before 2 a.m. on June 17 about the active search for the missing girl.

They tracked the suspect’s SUV using the girl’s cell phone signal, which played a crucial role in locating her.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Justin Dunn stated, “She had her cell phone with her, and they were actively pinging her phone to find her whereabouts.”

During a traffic stop, a Missouri trooper saw a girl in the backseat of the vehicle who identified herself as the missing teen.

According to the source, the trooper promptly removed her from the vehicle and placed her in the patrol car for safety.

Suspects Arrested and Charged

With assistance from the Macon Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested Marlon Aguilar of Honduras, Arturo Eustaquio of Mexico, Noe Guzman Hernandez of Mexico, Daniel Ruiz Lopez of Mexico, and Carlos Funez of Honduras.

The five men were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and are currently held without bond due to their illegal status in the United States.

Dunn emphasized the importance of parental awareness, saying, “If I can give any warning to parents on your kids, know what your kids are doing on the internet.”

Trafficking Concerns Highlighted

The arrest report suggests the men intended to traffic the young girl to California after meeting her online, underscoring the risks of internet interactions for minors.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers lurking online.

Genevieve Meyer from the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program stressed the importance of vigilance, advising parents to monitor their children’s online behavior closely.

Meyer warned that “everybody is susceptible to being exploited,” especially where there is vulnerability.

Meyer highlighted several red flags for parents to watch for:

  • Sudden changes in their child’s behavior
  • Increased time spent online
  • Secrecy about online activities
  • Anxiety or worry

“We used to talk to our kids about not getting into cars and stranger danger,” Meyer said. “Now we need to have conversations about who they’re talking to and what information they’re sharing online.”

Potential Legal Consequences

The suspects, if convicted of the charges filed in Missouri, face up to seven years in prison. Additionally, they may face federal charges, which could lead to more severe penalties.

This case underscores the need for parents to remain vigilant about their children’s online activities and to educate them about the potential dangers of interacting with strangers on the internet.

The swift recovery of the teenager and the arrest of the suspects were made possible through the use of technology and the dedication of law enforcement agencies.

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