Man may head to border with teen girl
Amber Alert for 13-year-old in ‘immediate danger’
Updated: Friday, 07 May 2010, 1:11 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 06 May 2010, 11:57 AM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) – An Amber Alert has been issued for an Austin teen who police said was last seen at 8:07 a.m. Thursday with a suspect who may be headed to the border to leave the country.
Austin police said a teacher’s aide saw Karen Anastacio, 13, getting into a brown-colored Ford Expolorer or Ford Expedition across the street from Bedichek Middle School in South Austin with suspect Angel Rojas, 25, at the wheel.
“We have reason to believe that she is in immediate danger,” said Austin Police Department Cmdr. Julie O’Brien. “We’re asking for the public’s help in locating Karen.”
Karen is a 5-foot-2-inch tall Hispanic female and weighs approximately 115 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a black shirt and black pants, carrying a pink backpack.
Angel Rojas is described as a Hispanic male, weighing approximately 135 pounds. He is 5 feet 3 inches tall and has black hair and brown eyes. Rojas may also use the following names: Juan Alberto Espinoza-Ambrocio and/or Eduardo Lopez.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the victim or suspect is urged to call 911 immediately.
Police said the family acquaintance committed a violent felony offense against Karen and that the family was about to file a criminal charge against him, something that fuels suspicions about Rojas fleeing not only the area but also the country.
“We do have reason to believe that Rojas is headed to the border with Karen,” said O’Brien. “There is a sense of urgency that we need to get her back, not only to protect her from further criminal activity from Rojas but also to prevent him from taking her across the border.”
Police said they are working with various law enforcement agencies throughout the state and with border agents as well, but they are also asking for all eyes to be on the lookout.
“Obviously, the family is scared to death,” said O’Brien. “It’s with your help and the public’s help that we’re going to get back Karen.”
School Principal Dan Diehl told KXAN Austin News that the incident happened just before 8 a.m., prior to the start of the school day, across the street from the campus near the intersection of Bill Hughes Road and Thelma Drive.
Karen was walking to school with a group of other students when she said she felt ill, Diehl said. Shortly after, the suspect arrived at that location, and Karen got in his car, he said.
“The other students told a teacher’s aide, who told our school resource officer (AISD Police), who told a teacher’s aid,” Diehl said.
Through this process, authorities were able to learn more about the suspect and his vehicle.
Had Karen fallen ill during the school day, Diehl said officials have a strict sick leave policy. A school nurse would take the student’s temperature to determine if there was a fever. Next, the child’s parents would be called.
Diehl, who is in his second year as principal at Bedischek, said he and other principals in South Austin have discussed a growing trend of young students forming relationships with adults and leaving school with them.
“Parents need to tell their children to be careful,” he said. “They need to realize the dangers of something like this.”
Meanwhile, Austin Independent School District spokeswoman Roxanne Evans stressed that it wasn’ t considered a “stranger abduction.”
“Police are handling this matter,” said Evans. “This is not a stranger abduction. No other children are at risk.”
The school’s principal will draft a letter to send out to parents Thursday afternoon regarding the case.