A teenager who disappeared last summer was finally reunited with her parents over the weekend. At the same time, her stepfather was arrested for her kidnapping.
Katuana Nateya, aged 14, was found on April 16, Saturday during a traffic stop in Nevada. The chief of Crescent City Police Department in Northern California, Richard Griffin, revealed that Katuana’s stepfather Santos Flores-Roman, aged 39 years old, had an active arrest warrant against him for abducting the young girl. He has been taken into custody.
Richard told KTVU-TV that she was unharmed and healthy, much to everyone’s relief. The Press Democrat further added that Flores Roman was charged on suspicion of keeping a child from their parents.
NY Post reports that the matter is somewhat complicated because it's like child abduction but things are kind of different here because she ran away herself. Katuana left her home in Crescent City in July 2021 for Santa Rosa, where Flores Roman had moved.
Also, this wasn’t the first time that she had run away to live with her stepfather in Santa Rosa. Katuana had left home multiple times before as well. So when she disappeared again in July 2021, the officials were already thinking that it was Flores Roman.
Why was she running away from home again and again? We still don’t know. But Child Welfare Services are looking into it.
Since she’s a local Yurok Indian, the local tribe police contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs and launched an FBI Investigation. During the investigation, they kept checking Flores Roman's home for the girl. But she was hiding in his travel trailer the whole time.
Eventually, the chief’s office located Flores in Chico by running his license plate. Then, out of nowhere, the chief got a call saying that they had found the girl who had been missing since last summer.
No parent can imagine their daughter running away from home and go missing for that long. Richard, like any other parent, felt the same way. He was happy to call the girl's parents and inform them of the good news.
Finding Katuana alive and healthy was the best-case scenario considering most child abduction cases don’t have a happy ending unless found within a day.