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Teen Reported Missing Had Snuck Away—to Morocco

Hespress/YouTube

The Short of It

A Connecticut teen reported missing last week by her parents was found in Morocco visiting the boyfriend she met on Facebook. She returned home over the weekend.

The Lowdown

Rebecca Arthur, 17, of Clinton, Conn., was reported missing after her parents did not hear from her after dropping her off at JFK International Airport last Monday to fly to California to visit a friend.

On Friday, the teen was found safe in Essaouira, where she has been staying with her Moroccan boyfriend, Simo El Adala, and his family. Police say Arthur met El Adala online about a year ago and has been dating him long distance for six months. They had not met in person until this trip.

In a video published by Hespress, Arthur claimed her parents had given her permission for the trip and her boyfriend shows what appears to be a notarized parental permission slip allowing Arthur to fly unaccompanied. Police believe Arthur's mother signed the permission slip for a flight to California and that the teen may have altered it after getting her mother's signature. Police say El Adala misled his family and arranged the trip without his parents' knowledge or consent, too.

Connecticut police had enlisted the help of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. consulate in Morocco after Arthur's parents reported her missing.

The Upshot

Wow. It's one thing for a teen to sneak out of the house to visit her boyfriend after curfew, but it's quite another to sneak off to Morocco for a week. It seems unlikely Arthur's parents gave her permission to fly to the other side of the world by herself to see a boy none of them had ever met, but I wonder how the teen paid for her plane ticket or had a passport to make the trip? Parents really do need to monitor what teens are doing online, although I doubt this scenario is one anyone ever thought of watching out for.

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