Local News

Tarboro girl on the run with 20-year-old man

Posted June 7, 2011 4:28 p.m. EDT
Updated June 8, 2011 7:16 p.m. EDT

— Authorities are searching for a 13-year-old Tarboro girl last seen when a 20-year-old man checked her out of school last Thursday.

Tarboro police say Leonardo Velasquez Frias checked Nancy Ramirez out of Martin Middle School, possibly by using her brother's identification card. 

"She left on her own accord. She wasn't forcefully abducted. We have no reason to believe that she is in any danger," Tarboro Police Lt. Keith Hale said.

Hale said the situation did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert because the teen was not forced to leave with Frias, but because of her age, an arrest warrant was issued for Frias charging him with abduction.

Ramirez is a Hispanic girl with black hair and brown eyes. She is 5-foot-1 and approximately 110 pounds. She has pierced ears and scars on her left eyebrow and nose.

They are believed to be traveling in a gold 1997 Mercury Mystique with North Carolina license tag ZZK-9757, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Police said family members think Frias and the teen developed a romantic relationship while he lived with her family in Princeville for the past eight months. Their families are friends. 

Authorities said they believe the two planned the last week's incident.

"He showed up at school, talked to her in the hall for a minute. She left. He goes into the office and comes back out. She comes back with her personal belongings – pocketbook and such – then walked out the door to leave," Hale said.

Edgecombe County officials said the school followed the correct procedure for checking out students. At the start of the school year, parents fill out a form with contact information and a list of authorized people to pick up their children.

When a person comes to the school to pick up a student early, they sign in the log and show their ID, and workers check the form. The teen's brother was most likely authorized to pick her up.

Police don't think the two have gone far. Frias didn't have much money, and they didn't take any extra belongings with them.

"She's never done this before. Of course, the mother of any 13 year-old is awfully worried about her well-being," Hale said.

The U.S. Marshal Service and State Bureau of Investigation are assisting with the search.

In the past, Frias has been charged with larceny, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call NCMEC at 800-843-5678 or Tarboro police at 252-641-4247.