Missing Allentown Teen Returns to Pennsylvania After Two-Week Search - NBC 6 South Florida
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Missing Allentown Teen Returns to Pennsylvania After Two-Week Search

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Missing Teen's Return a Reminder for Parents to Keep Eye on Internet Use

    The safe return of a 16-year-old girl who police say traveled to Mexico with a 45-year-old man could be a good reminder for parents to pay more attention to what their kids are doing online, a family therapist says.

    (Published Sunday, March 18, 2018)

    An Allentown teen who went missing two weeks ago with a 45-year-old man returned safely to Pennsylvania early Sunday morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed to NBC10.

    The 16-year-old landed at Philadelphia International Airport and is being evaluated at a local hospital, family confirmed to NBC10. 

    "She doesn't want to see me," the girl's mother said.

    Officials found the teen and Kevin Esterly late Saturday morning in the beachside resort town of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. 

    Esterly is in custody in Miami and has been charged with custodial interference, according to investigators. 

    "Thank you, God," the girl's mother said of her safe return.

    Officials believe the 16-year-old willingly disappeared with Esterly, a father of four daughters. His eldest child is 14 years old and youngest is 2 years old.

    The two apparently had a secret relationship for months, and investigators said the teen may even have gone on family vacations with Esterly. 

    John Waldron, the attorney representing Esterly's wife, Stacie, told NBC10 the couple has been arguing for months over his relationship with the Allentown teen, who went missing on March 5. 

    Ten days later, an Amber Alert was issued in Mexico after it was discovered Esterly bought one-way tickets to Dallas and then to Cancun.

    According to a warrant issued after they disappeared, Esterly signed the girl out of school 10 times between Nov. 13 and Feb. 9 without her parents' permission.

    Police said the girl's mother called Feb. 9 to report Esterly had signed her child out of Lehigh Valley Academy earlier that day. On Feb. 15, records show police told Esterly to stay away from the teen's home.

    Investigators said it now appears that the girl may have added Esterly to her school emergency contact list as a stepfather. That, they said, would have allowed him to remove the girl from school.

    It's not clear when Esterly will be returned to Pennsylvania. Allentown police are awaiting his extradition. He and his wife have not had contact since he was taken into custody.

    "He is calling her from a jail in Florida but she is not accepting his calls," Waldron, her attorney, said.

    Editor's Note: NBC10 is no longer naming the girl, now that she has been found safe and could be the victim of a crime.