Frisco teen who disappeared has message for friends

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 9:20 AM

FRISCO — Frisco police broke their two-day silence Monday and confirmed they are treating the case of Bethany Stroud as a kidnapping.

In a statement, the department said investigators believe this "to be an isolated case."

Officers also revealed a vague description of a suspect. The high school senior told officers that a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and carrying a gun ambushed her outside Dr Pepper Arena Friday night and forced her to drive 200 miles to Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Questions about the circumstances of the 18-year-old's abduction still swirl. Officers aren't revealing how she managed to escape her abductor while also keeping her car.

Police also won’t clarify how they they can be certain that this is an isolated event.

The alleged crime is extremely rare for this affluent suburb north of Dallas. Forbes Magazine recently named Frisco the 14th safest city in America.

It's kind of unreal, because we always thought Frisco is a safe community," said Stroud’s 16-year-old friend Amanda Guzman. She helped organize a search for the missing girl over the weekend, but hasn't yet spoken to Stroud since she returned home on Sunday.

"Everybody wants to see her," Guzman said, "but we know we can't right now. We're trying to understand she's going through a lot."

Stroud, a senior at Lone Star High School, has been resting at home with her family, according to her father, Alan Stroud.

"We're relieved she's back," he told News 8 on Sunday, adding his daughter has a bruised cheek but is otherwise fine. He declined to speak Monday about the circumstances of his daughter’s disappearance.

"I'm not really going to get into that," he said on Sunday. "It's a private issue for us."

Stroud, 18, posted this message for her Facebook friends on Sunday:

"I'm home and I'm safe. Thank you all so much for your love and support and efforts. Right now, I need to be alone with my family, I’m sure you will all understand."

Stroud told police the gunman kidnapped her as she left the arena at 9:30 p.m. Friday, where she worked as a ticket-taker for a Texas Legends basketball game.

Frisco police insist they have found no evidence linking the crime to the Dr Pepper Arena.

Twenty minutes after leaving work, Stroud dialed 911. But the 12-second call was filled with static. The teen later told investigators the suspect removed her cell phone battery.

Stroud told officers the gunman then briefly took her to a home before forcing her to drive for miles. She said she somehow managed to escape Saturday evening and then drove herself to a Braum's ice cream store in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where she borrowed a cell phone and called police.

"If this is as horrific as it sounds, she’s very fortunate to get away," said Muskogee police Cpl. Pedro Zardeneta.

Zardeneta said his department took Stroud into protective custody until Frisco police arrived at 2 a.m. Sunday and then released her to her family.

Zardeneta said the case is now in the hands of Frisco police, and any search for a suspect is their call. The FBI says it is also joining the effort.

"The FBI is coordinating efforts with the Frisco police due to a possible interstate nexus," spokeswoman Lydia Maese said.

Stroud has remained at home, resting and visiting with only a few friends. Her father said she's revealing very few details about the ordeal with her family.

"She's doing good," Alan Stroud said. "We're just letting her stay in the house and rest and recover and kind of try to get back some normalcy."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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