A 17-year-old Connecticut teen who was reported missing after flying to Morocco to see a boyfriend she met online has been found safe in a seaside community there, and authorities are arranging to bring her back home.
Police said Rebecca Arthur’s mother dropped her off Monday at the Delta Airlines terminal at JFK International Airport. She was under the impression her daughter, who lives in Clinton, was flying to California to visit a friend.
“The daughter had no intent of going to California,” said Clinton Police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn.
Instead, Arthur boarded a flight to Casablanca, Morocco, to visit Simo El Adala and arrived on July 7. Police are still investigating but said they “have reason to believe” El Adala paid for Arthur’s plane ticket to Morocco and that at Arthur may have forged a permission slip.
Authorities found Arthur safe in the seaside community of Essaouira with El Adala and his family at 3 a.m. local time Friday.
El Adala also misled his family, according to police, who said the couple arranged the trip without his parents’ knowledge or consent.
According to police, Arthur and El Adala have known each other for about a year and have been a couple for the last six months, but had never before met in person.
Local police received help from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. consulate in Morocco to find the teen. Efforts are underway to bring Arthur back home.
Travel to Morocco can be dangerous due to “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.”