The Associated Press reports that a missing teen girl has been found and the 45-year-old man who was traveling with her has been arrested. Kevin Esterly, 45, frequently signed the teenager out of school without her parents’ knowledge prior to the disappearance. The teen has been returned to her home in Pennsylvania and Esterly is now in custody.
The two were found by federal agents and Mexican authorities in Playa del Carmen and flown to Miami. Esterly is waiting to be processed in Miami, and the girl was flown home to her parents after it was determined she was in good health.
Esterly is a married father of four and faces charges of child custody interference in Pennsylvania.
The pair were missing for two weeks, and bought one-way tickets to Dallas, Texas before heading to Cancun on March 5. Police believe the teen girl went with Esterly willingly, as he had signed her out of school 10 times in the past few months.
The teenager had also altered her school records to list Esterly as her stepfather. An Amber Alert was issued by Mexican authorities on Thursday.
The 16-year-old is friends with Esterly’s daughter, and they had met at church several years ago. Stacy Esterly, who is married to Kevin, has told her attorney that she and her husband have fought constantly since last summer about his relationship with the teen.
According to CBS news, Stacy has refused to accept Kevin’s calls from jail. She is reportedly “happy” the teenager is at “home and that Kevin is in custody,” according to her attorney.
*Photo credit Allentown Police Department