A 24-year-old man in New York City accused of kidnapping and imprisoning a 17-year-old girl from Rialto was arrested and the girl was reunited with her family in Southern California, Rialto police announced Thursday, May 12.
Elijah Clark was arrested Friday, May 6, on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment, injury to a minor, strangulation, assault on a police officer and multiple weapons charges, the Rialto Police Department said in a press release. In addition to charges Clark faces in New York, Rialto police recommended several charges to the SanBernardino County District Attorney’s Office including contact with a minor with intent for lewd acts and meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, police said.
On April 30, Rialto police were alerted of a missing 17-year-old girl whose parents were concerned after the girl’s friends disclosed she had been having conversations with Clark online, authorities said. By May 2, the girl had not yet returned home and Rialto detectives began their search, police said.
Detectives were able to obtain a New York City area phone number believed to be Clark’s, but were unable to contact the phone’s owner initially through calls and texts, authorities said. On May 5, detectives received a message from Clark’s suspected phone from the girl saying she needed help returning home and that Clark was refusing to let her leave, Rialto police said.
Detectives reached out to the New York Police Department with information regarding Clark’s possible address in the 1600 block of Amsterdam Avenue, police said. NYPD personnel attempted to make contact at Clark’s home, but were unable to contact anyone there, authorities said.
The following day, detectives insisted that NYPD officers attempt to make contact at the home again because they believed the victim was in danger, police said.
At 7:47 p.m., the NYPD contacted Rialto police that the girl had been rescued and Clark was taken into custody, police said.
On Tuesday, May 10, the girl was reunited with her parents in Rialto, authorities said.
Rialto police ask anyone with information related to the investigation contact Lt. James Mills at 909-820-2632.
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