NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says an Amber alert issued this week suggesting a missing East Texas teenager could be in the Kansas City area was a mistake.
An Amber alert was issued Tuesday evening in Kansas and Missouri after authorities said they miscalculated the location of the cell phone belonging to Nacogdoches 15-year-old Nomei "Mimi" Velazquez.
A KBI special agent told the Associated Press it appears the ping was read wrong, and that there is no evidence the girl's phone was ever in the area.
Velazquez went missing after leaving school Monday and was located Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas, traveling with a 28-year-old construction worker. Juan Fabian Arenas Delacruz and the teen were found separately.
An off-duty Lubbock Police officer spotted the suspect vehicle near the Texas Tech University campus. "He [Delacruz] was arrested at the construction site and then he took officers to her at the Sunset Square Motel," Lubbock Police sergeant Jason Lewis said.
Delacruz, an illegal immigrant, is being held in the Lubbock County Detention Center on a charge of first-degree aggravated kidnapping. He may also face additional charges in Lubbock before being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Delacruz was a friend of the girl's family until a falling out in December, according to Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges. He said Delacruz may have had some kind of fixation with Velazquez.
Sheriff's officials said Delacruz had been working for a Louisiana oil company and was living in the Center area. Bridges said the suspect's background is unclear because he is an illegal alien. Investigators believe Delacruz may also be a former police officer in Mexico.
Velazquez is in the custody of Child Protective Services in Lubbock. A Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputy is expected to return the girl to her family in Nacogdoches on Friday.
Bridges says Delacruz will also be transported back to Nacogdoches next week.