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.

NORTHRICHLANDHILLS - A 14-year-old girl missing from North Richland Hills has been found safe in Mexico, police revealed in a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The girl and 26-year-old Stephan Cox, an Ohio fugitive, are in the custody of Mexican authorities. Cox now faces a kidnapping charge.

"I'm happy she's safe," said the girl's sister. "I just want her here now."

North Richland Hills police said they were contacted by Mexican officials Thursday morning. They would not say where or how they were found.

"They're safe. They're in Mexico, and we're working to return them," said North Richland Hills investigator Keith Bauman. He says he's been told it could take as little as a day or more than a week to return the girl.

It could take longer to getStephan Cox.

"Mexican officials have been very accommodating to us," Bauman said. "And they've been more than gracious to assist us in this. But there's a lot that has to happen to return them to the US."

The 14-year-old was initially reported missing after she didn't return home from school on April 24. That night, both Cox and and the girl arrived in Abilene on a Greyhound bus. Surveillance video from an Abilene convenience store captured video of the teen and Cox. Police said the following day the pair were in El Paso.

Cox faces arrest warrants in Columbus, Ohio on two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor in a case that also involves a 14-year-old girl.

The parents of the teen said their daughter met Cox on the Internet. Her family said they never heard her mention her accused abductor. Authorities in Franklin County in Ohio said Cox fled to Texas after he cut off his ankle monitor and jumped bond.

Police say they're still tracing the connections between Cox and the girl.


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