Caitlyn Frisina returns to Florida as soccer coach awaits court hearing

By: Action News Jax
December 3, 2017

Columbia County teen Caitlyn Frisina is back home with her parents exactly a week after her disappearance led to a nationwide search.

The man she was found with, Rian Rodriguez, is expected to appear in Onondaga court Monday morning.

Caitlyn’s mom Scarlet Frisina says the family is happy to be home and begin the healing process.

“We will be spending time together working through everything,” she told Action News Jax via text message. “Lots of love and patience.”

She went on to say that the family is worn out – physically and emotionally – but that Caitlyn is home and OK.

Caitlyn’s dad Ward Frisina expressed his thanks to law enforcement and the community Sunday for their part in bringing his daughter home.

Her parents say they plan to seek counseling as they begin to heal.

A spokesperson at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office tells Action News Jax that deputies are waiting for word on Rodriguez’s extradition.

He is being held in Syracuse on a charge of interference with a child’s custody.

By: Action News Jax
December 1, 2017

Caitlyn Frisina, the 17-year-old who has been missing from Columbia County for nearly a week, was found safe in New York state on Friday.

There was no immediate indication where in New York Caitlyn was found.

The search ends a days-long drama in which Frisina was discovered to have left her Lake City home with Rian Rodriguez, a 27-year-old soccer coach.

The pair had been suspected of being in the Northeastern United States. They had been seen along the I-95 corridor in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, but the last sighting was last Sunday.

By: CBS News
November 29, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (CBS) -- Surveillance video confirms that a missing northern Florida teen is with a high school soccer coach, investigators say, and police believe the two are heading north.

17-year-old Caitlyn Frisina is believed to have left her home in Columbia County voluntarily sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and was reported missing by her parents, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Investigators say she was seen on surveillance video with 27-year-old Rian Rodriguez, who is a boy's soccer coach at Fort White High School, where Frisina is a senior and reportedly plays on the girls' soccer team.

Frisina took $200 out of an ATM in St. Marys, Georgia, on Sunday morning, and was later that day seen with Rodriguez on surveillance video at a Pilot gas station in St. George, Georgia, Sheriff Mark Hunter said Wednesday.

"Video from the store showed Rian and Caitlyn, which confirmed to us they were together," Hunter said.

They were also spotted early Sunday evening at a pawn shop in Fayetteville, N.C., Hunter said.

According to a missing persons report, Frisina left her home through her bedroom window, taking some clothes and her wallet but leaving her cellphone, which had been erased of data. Police said in the report they obtained a text message the girl sent to a friend that indicates she is with Rodriguez and that there "may be a relationship" between Frisina and the coach.

Hunter said Rodriguez is a friend of Frisina's family and is the assistant coach on the boy's soccer team at her high school, which Frisina's father coaches. The Columbia County School District has since suspended Rodriguez.

Hunter didn't detail the relationship between Frisina and Rodriguez and said his primary focus is to bring the teen home safely.

"She's with a person who is 10 years her senior in a supervisory capacity over her as a coach," Hunter said. "She is legally a juvenile. Although she's 17 years old, she's still unable to consent by law. That's our concern, and our concern of course is that we don't know she's OK."

Hunter said Rodriguez faces possible criminal charges of interference with child custody and could face further charges depending on what the investigation yields.

The missing teen's father, Ward Frisina, told CBS affiliate WJAX that he helped Rodriguez get a job as his assistant soccer coach and had checked with him after the teen went missing, but he didn't pick up his phone. Ward Frisina said there were no indications his daughter might run away and it's not like her to be out of touch with her family.

Speaking Wednesday, the girl's mother begged her to call home.

"Caitlyn, if you can see this, Pumpkin, we just want you to know that we love you and we miss you and we need to know that you're safe," Scarlet Frisina said.

Police say Rodriguez has family in Canada and Pennsylvania and Caitlyn Frisina has family in New York. The two are believed to be heading north, possibly in a red Mercury Sable with Florida tags Z04CSC. Anyone with information is asked to call the tip line at 877-419-0934.

By: Brittney Donovan | Action News Jax
November 28, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (ANJ) -- Deputies in Florida are searching for a 17-year-old who allegedly ran away with her soccer coach.

Columbia County deputies say Caitlyn Frisina erased all the data on her cellphone before leaving home Saturday night.

Columbia County deputies say Caitlyn may be with 27-year-old Rian Rodriguez in a red Mercury Sable.

Rodriguez is a soccer coach associated with the team Caitlyn plays for, Columbia County deputies tell Action News Jax.

The Columbia County School District released the following statement on Rodriguez:

"The Columbia County School District is cooperating fully with the Columbia County Sheriff’s office with regard to an investigation against one of our current supplemented employees. The employee has been suspended pending this investigation and is no longer serving in the supplemented capacity as Head Boys’ Soccer Coach at Fort White High School. Depending on the outcome of this investigation the information may be sent to FLDOE to determine if any violations of the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida or local School Board Policy have occurred. Again, the employee has been suspended and will be restricted from all contact with students. No other comments will be made pending this investigation."

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials announced the missing child alert on Tuesday just after noon.

Caitlyn Frisina's family has not seen her since Saturday night. Deputies say she wiped the data from her phone and climbed out of a window at her Columbia County home.

Caitlyn was last seen withdrawing $200 from an ATM in St. Marys, Georgia on Sunday.

Caitlyn's father shared a photo of him and his daughter on Facebook, asking anyone to help him get in touch with his daughter.

"We are now in the third day of her missing and having no contact with her. She left with only a few clothes. She left her phone," he said in the post. "Her family loves her and more than anything else wants to know she is safe and not in danger!"

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact Detective D Marszalek at 386-719-2005.

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