Teen taken to Mexico met kidnapping suspect on the Internet

Posted Monday, May. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A 14-year-old girl met a suspected child predator on the Internet and then left with him to Mexico before authorities found them last week, North Richland Hills police said Monday.

Ruby Contreras was reunited with her family late Friday after Mexican authorities found her and Stephan Cox, 26, on Thursday morning in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, investigator Keith Bauman said Monday.

Cox remained in an El Paso jail awaiting extradition to North Richland Hills.

Police said Monday that Contreras, a student at North Oaks Middle School in Haltom City, met Cox on social media websites.

“During those conversations, Stephan Cox was able to entice Ruby away from the custody of her family,” Bauman said in a news release. “Stephan Cox had traveled from Ohio by bus and met with Ruby near her school.”

Contreras was last seen April 24 at the Haltom City school.

The two took a bus to El Paso and arrived there April 25, police said. At some point, they crossed the border on foot into Ciudad Juarez.

Using information from the Texas Rangers, Mexican authorities found them Thursday in Juarez and arrested Cox on suspicion of kidnapping. Along with police in North Richland Hills, Haltom City and El Paso, agencies involved in the search include the FBI, the Texas Rangers, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas State Operations Center and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The two were found after a media blitz in North Texas, El Paso and Juarez, Bauman said.

Cox was scheduled to appear today in court in Columbus, Ohio, on charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in a January incident, NBC4i.com in Columbus reported. He was released from custody Feb. 27 under house arrest and had been electronically monitored.

In January, a 14-year-old girl from North Strabane Township, Pa., was found in Columbus with Cox. She apparently went to Ohio to meet Cox, with whom she had had an Internet relationship for months, according to a report by the Columbus Observer-Reporter.

The teen climbed out a bedroom window, took her mother’s 2002 Chevrolet Suburban and drove to Columbus.

Columbus police stopped the SUV when officers saw that the teen was driving erratically. Cox was a passenger.

In February, Cox was indicted on two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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