NRH police concerned about safety of missing 14-year-old

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by MONIKA DIAZ and JOSH DAVIS

WFAA

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 5:42 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: The girl referenced in this story told Mexican authorities she was sexually assaulted, so all references to her name and picture were removed on 5/3/13.


NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Police are looking for a 14-year-old girl, who has been missing since she didn't come home from school last Wednesday and may be in the company of a dangerous man.

"[She] may not be aware that she is in danger, but we are very concerned about her safety," said North Richland Hills police investigator Keith Bauman.

He said his department had requested an Amber Alert be issued for the girl on Tuesday afternoon, but the state operations center declined to issue the alert because the case did not meet the required criteria. Bauman said as they develop additional information, they hope that will change.

"Whether an Amber Alert is active or not, that does not take away the importance of us reaching out to the community for assistance," Bauman said.


SEE CRITERIA TO ISSUE AN AMBER ALERT


Last Wednesday, April 24, the girl failed to return home from North Oaks Middle School in Haltom City. Her family said that this isn't typical behavior for her, and there is no reason to believe she has run away from home.

According to North Richland Hills police, it appears the girl has left North Texas and is possibly in the company of an older man named Stephan Andrew Cox. The two might be traveling west by bus.

Detectives said both were recently seen in the El Paso area. There are surveillance camera images of the two, but the police did not release them to the media.

Reports indicate that Cox -- who is from Ohio -- was arrested in January in a case involving another 14-year-old girl. Both apparently met online. The teen stole her parents' car to meet Cox and four days later, police found her.

She was reunited with her parents.

That's the outcome North Texas investigators are hoping for.

"We need to find [the girl]," Bauman said. "We need to reunite her with her family. Our main focus at this time is to get [the girl] home."

News 8 contacted the 14-year-old's family Tuesday night.  They said they could not discuss the case.

Cox is described as a 26-year-old Hispanic male, 5'-5", 140 lbs.

If you have any information as to the whereabouts of either person, please contact the North Richland Hills Police Department at 817-281-1000 or your local police agency.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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