A 17-year-old Florida girl has been missing for several days and police say she could be with a 27-year-old soccer coach.
Caitlyn Frisina is believed to have left her home in Lake City on Sunday, November 26, “of her own accord,” the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. Police are “actively searching” for Frisina and believe she might be with Rian Rodriguez, the boys soccer coach at Fort White High School, where Frisina is a student.
Friends told the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office that Frisina and Rodriguez might be in a “romantic relationship,” according to the Lake City Reporter.
“We just have to assume that until we get her home, she is in danger,” Captain Katina Dicks of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, told WJAX-TV. Police say it is not being treated as a kidnapping case and no charges have been filed.
“Thank you to everyone for all of your thoughts, prayers, calls & messages. Our family is heartbroken, however we continue to put our faith and trust in Jesus,” Caitlyn’s mother, Scarlet, wrote on Facebook. “We continue to pray for a hedge of protection around our daughter and are expecting good news any time!! Thank you all, again, for your out pouring of love and concern!!”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Frisina ‘Fully Erased’ Her Phone Before Leaving the Home & Stopped at an ATM in Georgia
Caitlyn Morgan Frisina “fully erased” her phone before leaving her home on Sunday, November 26, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. Her last known location was in St Marys, Georgia, also on November 26, where she withdrew $200 from an ATM, the sheriff’s office said.
Investigators believe Frisina left her home through a bedroom window on her own, and said there was one set of footprints leading away from the house, sheriff’s office spokesman Murray Smith told the Lake City Reporter.
“We are now in the third day of her missing and having no contact with her. She left with only a few clothes,” her father, Ward Frisina, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “She left her phone. Her family loves her and more than anything else wants to know she is safe and not in danger! Help us get in contact with her anyway possible!”
Smith told the Lake City Reporter that investigators could retrieve text messages from the phone, but do not believe it is necessary at this point. “We’ve got a pretty good picture of what happened and what went on,” Smith told the newspaper.
Scarlet Frisina told the Lake City Reporter that she is not aware of a “romantic relationship” between Rodriguez and her daughter, though friends of Frisina told police otherwise, according to the newspaper. “As far as we know, he was just a friend,” Scarlet Frisina said.
She told WJXT that the family never believed Rodriguez was a threat. He has not been responding to calls and text messages from the Frisinas and his family, according to reports.
Murray Smith told ABC News the family told police there were “no indicators” of a relationship between Caitlyn and Rodriguez, but investigators learned from interviews that there was the “blossoming of a potential relationship” between two two.
“Caitlyn has a current boyfriend who also is beside himself because everything was fine,” Smith said.
On Wednesday, Frisina’s father, Ward, wrote on Facebook, “I do not have many words to say. Please call us! I know you are not a little kid. We want to hear your voice and make sure you are in a good place and with someone who will truly be able to care for you. I have always told you we can deal with anything if we have the facts. I feel that you do not have all the facts about your situation and I know you do not have the facts about how we feel right now. Please get in touch with us!!”
2. They Could Be in a Red Mercury Sable With Florida License Plate No. Z04CSC & They Might Be Headed to New York or Canada
Rodriguez and Frisina could be traveling in a red 2001 Mercury Sable with Florida license plate no. Z04CSC, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said. Neither Rodriguez nor his car have been seen in several days, authorities said.
According to ABC News, the sheriff’s office said they believe the pair is headed northeast. Caitlyn has family in New York, and Rodriguez is believed to have family in Canada and possibly Pennsylvania, according to ABC News.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a missing child alert for Caitlyn Frisina on Tuesday, saying she is “endangered.”
Frisina is 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes, according to the alert. Rodriguez is 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighs 220 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.
“Whether they traveled north or south, we just don’t know. We’re hoping some additional leads come in,” Captain Katina Dicks told WJAX-TV.
“If you have any information please contact Detective D Marszalek at 386-719-2005,” the sheriff’s office said.
3. Her Parents Have Pleaded With Caitlyn, Writing ‘All We Care About Is Knowing Whether or Not You’re Safe’
Caitlyn Morgan Frisina’s parents have both taken to social media to plead with their daughter to get in touch with them and come home.
“I want you to know how very much we love you and miss you! We’re not sure why you chose to go, but know that all we care about is knowing whether or not you’re safe!! We can work out any issues,” Scarlet Frisina wrote on Facebook. “We’re here with open arms praying for your safety! Please let us know that you’re ok. Day or night, no matter what; no judgement, no anger…just know we’re here and we love you more than you can imagine! Chandler and all of our family and friends love you, too, and are praying for you, as well!! Let someone, anyone, know that you’re ok!!! ”
Ward Frisina, her father, wrote on Twitter, “I do not care about anything except hearing your voice. There is absolutely nothing that you could have done or be involved in that stops my love for you. You are my only concern. I will come to you no matter the time or place! I love you!”
Caitlyn Frisina is a senior at Lake White High School. She plays on the girls soccer team there and has also played for the Florida Elite Soccer Academy.
“Soccer was a love that we shared,” Ward Frisina wrote on Facebook. He is the girls soccer coach at Fort White High School.
“We don’t care why she left. We don’t care what’s happened,” Scarlet Frisina told WJXT-TV. “We just want to know that she’s safe.”
She told the news station her daughter is an “good, All-American girl,” saying “She’s intelligent. She’s athletic. She has a big heart. We just can’t imagine what in the world is going on.”
On a college soccer recruiting website, Caitlyn Frisina wrote about herself, “I am a faithful Christian, who is a hard worker and has worked for everything I have. I have the drive and determination to complete any tasks that is put before me. I am an extremely diverse person. I have been involved with many different sports in addition to soccer, such as Cross country and track, which I made it to regionals each year. Being active in sports has taught me how to be a leader, to be strong, and to never give up. Being involved in different clubs such as the FFA, Choral groups, as well as being involved with my church and my community has really opened my eyes and allowed me to grow as a person and improve greatly as a young adult. I have always had a good work ethic and am a person that is for what’s best for the team, as well as being a team player. Soccer was and is my first love.”
On her Facebook page, Caitlyn says she works at her family’s company, Flatwoods Forestry Inc., and also as a referee for the Columbia Youth Soccer Association.
“Saved by the Grace of God! Living and breathing for the Red, White,and Blue! Soccer Girl for Life #13,” she wrote in the about section of her page.
Her mother, Scarlet, is a former county commissioner.
On November 25, a day before she disappeared, she retweeted a quote about being thankful. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never, ever have enough.”
4. Rodriguez Is a Family Friend of the Frisinas Who Previously Coached Caitlyn & Was an Assistant Coach on Her Dad’s Staff at Fort White
Scarlet Frisina told WJXT-TV that Rian Rodriguez is a longtime family friend and has coached Caitlyn in soccer in the past.
Rodriguez was an assistant coach on Ward Frisina’s staff at Fort White High School while Frisina coached both the boys and girls teams there. Ward Frisina left his job as the boys coach in June, leaving Rodriguez to take over, according to the Lake City Reporter.
Frisina’s parents said Caitlyn and Rodriguez had been around each other “at sports events, but they’ve never been alone at all,” police spokesman Murray Smith told ABC News.
According to his Facebook page, Rodriguez went to Columbia County High School and then studied at Florida Gateway College and the University of Florida.
“For her to be on the road with this gentleman, I consider that to be a dangerous situation,” Smith told ABC News. “We are hoping for a great resolution. We don’t want them to think they are in trouble. They’ve made some poor decisions but who hasn’t? Just want them to contact their families and come home.”
5. The School District Has Suspended Rodriguez From His Coaching Job, but Police Say There’s No Evidence a Crime Has Taken Place
Rian Rodriguez has been suspended from his position as boys soccer coach. He is not employed in any other capacity at Fort White High School, according to the Lake City Reporter. He will be removed from contact with students pending an investigation, and school officials said he will be fired if it is found he was traveling with Frisina.
“He’s no longer gonna be allowed to be part of the team,” Columbia County Superintendent Lex Carswell told the Lake City Reporter. “Educators are held to a higher standard.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said that the state likely will not press charges against Rodriguez because Frisina turns 18 in June, according to the Lake City Reporter. Murray Smith, a spokesman with the sheriff’s office, told the newspaper there is no evidence a crime has taken place.
“At this point, we just need to locate them and make sure everyone is safe,” Smith told the newspaper.