A Connecticut teen reported missing after flying to Morocco to see a boyfriend she met online says she had her parents' permission to travel there, according to Moroccan media outlet Hespress.
Rebecca Arthur, 17, of Clinton, Connecticut, was found safe Friday morning in the seaside community of Essaouira, where she has been staying with her Moroccan boyfriend and his family since flying out from JFK International Airport on Monday.
Arthur's mother dropped her off at the terminal and told police she believed her daughter was going to California to visit a friend.
That's not the story Arthur tells.
"I am safe and OK with my boyfriend Simo and his family, and I have my parents' permission to come here and visit and spend time with them," a young woman who appears to be Arthur says in a video published by Hespress.
Although NBC Connecticut has not independently verified the video, Clinton police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn said he believes the video is legitimate and the young woman is most likely Arthur.
The camera then pans to someone who appears to be Arthur's boyfriend, Simo El Adala. Police said the two met online about a year ago and have been dating for six months, despite never having met in person until Arthur got off the plane Tuesday in Casablanca, Morocco.
The young man explains in Arabic that he has spoken with Arthur's mother over Skype and insists the teen's family was aware of her plans. He says one of Arthur's friends may have been jealous of their relationship and told the teen's mother he was going to kidnap Arthur and recruit her to join ISIS.
He denies any wrongdoing and displays what appears to be a notarized parental permission slip allowing Arthur to fly unaccompanied.
Police believe Arthur's mother did sign a permission slip – for a flight to California. They suspect Arthur may have altered the note after receiving her mother's signature.
They said El Adala also misled his family and arranged the trip without his parents' knowledge or consent.
Travel to Morocco can be dangerous because of "the potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens," according to the U.S. State Department, which urges Americans in Morocco to "maintain a low profile."
Local police enlisted the help of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. consulate in Morocco after Arthur's parents reported her missing.
Dunn said Arthur will fly home over the weekend.
Arthur's family did not respond to multiple requests for comment Friday.