NYC Man Charged in Kidnap, Imprisonment of Rialto Teen

Authorities said a 17-year-old teen from Rialto has returned home after she was allegedly kidnapped by a New York man she met online

A Rialto teenager has returned home after allegedly being lured to New York and kidnapped by a man she met online.

On April 30, the family of the 17-year-old girl, who is not being identified because she is a minor, reported to authorities that she had not come home. They also told police that their daughter’s friends told them that she had been chatting online for months with a man later identified as Elijah Clark, 24, of New York, according to Inland Empire Community News.

Investigators say that their calls to Clark’s phone went unanswered, but on May 5th, Agnes Watson, a detective for the Rialto Police Department, received a text message from the girl using Clark’s phone, stating that he was refusing to let her leave.

“I received a text from the suspect’s phone,” Watson told ABC7, “and it was a text from the victim asking, ‘please help me. He won’t let me go. I want to come back home. Please get me back home.’ And then they said ‘do not reply back to this text message or I’ll get in trouble.’”

Watson contacted the New York City Police Department, alerting them of the girl’s kidnapping and sharing what she believed was Clark’s home address, according to IECN.

After their first attempt to locate the girl was unsuccessful, officers from the NYPD were able to rescue her and arrest Clark on May 6. She was returned to her family on May 10, IECN reports.

Clark allegedly put up a fight when officers were trying to arrest him. He was booked on several charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, injury to a minor, strangulation, assault on a police officer, and multiple weapons charges, according to IECN.

“Be wary about giving out personal information online, whether it’s a home address, the name of your school, or even a license plate photo,” Rialto Police Department Corporal Nic Parcher told IECN. “It can give a person an idea of where you live and a precise location of where to find you.”

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.