A 17-year-old Connecticut teen reported missing after being driven to John F. Kennedy Airport so she could fly to Morocco to meet a Facebook boyfriend has been found safe in a seaside community there and authorities are arranging to bring her back home, police say.
Rebecca Arthur was found in Morocco, 220 miles south of Casablanca. at 3 a.m. local time on Friday, authorities said. She was found in the seaside community of Essaouira, with the Facebook boyfriend, Simo El Adala, and his family, officials said.
Authorities had been looking for Arthur since her mother dropped her off Monday at the Delta Airlines terminal under the impression that the Clinton teen was flying to California to visit a friend. But the girl boarded an international flight instead, going to Casablanca. She arrived there Tuesday.
"The daughter had no intent of going to California," said Clinton Police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn.
Police say Arthur flew to Morocco to El Adala. A Facebook profile for El Adala features photos of Arthur and lists her as in a relationship with him. One of his profile photos matches the image police shared Thursday. His profile states that he lives in Uruguay.
Police said they "have reason to believe" El Adala paid for Arthur's plane ticket to Morocco and that she might have forged a permission slip. El Adala also mislead his family, according to police who said the couple arranged the trip without his parents' knowledge or consent.
According to police, Arthur and El Adala have known each other for about a year and have dated for the last six months, but had never before met in person.
Local police received help from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. consulate in Morocco to find the teen.
Morocco has been listed as a dangerous country for Americans because of the potential for terrorist violence against U.S. citizens and interests, according to the State Department's website.