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A Florida teenager is home this morning after running away with a high school soccer coach for nearly a week.

Seventeen-year-old Caitlyn Frisina was reunited with her parents over the weekend in Syracuse, New York. Twenty-seven-year-old Rian Rodriguez is under arrest.

These last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for the Frisina family. They say they’re happy to have their daughter back and safe in their arms, and that Rodriguez will face the consequences for taking their child away.

Seeing his daughter again for the first time, said Ward Frisina, was “like the weight of the world being off my shoulders, finally.”


Florida teenager Caitlyn Frisina was reunited with her parents Ward and Scarlet. 

Family Photo

Ward told CBS News’ Meg Oliver that he initially blamed himself for his daughter’s disappearance. He’d encouraged Rodriguez to apply for the high school coaching job that brought him into their lives.

“It’s been difficult,” he said of his family’s ordeal. “I’m glad I have my daughter back where I know I can protect her and keep her safe, as a father always wants to do.”

Ward and Scarlet Frisina traveled more than 1,000 miles to reunite with their daughter in New York.

Oliver asked, “How long did you hug her?”

“I don’t know — until we had to breathe, I think,” replied Scarlet Frisina. “When you go that long without seeing or talking to her, you don’t want to let her go.”

Police say a New York State Trooper noticed Rodriguez’s car with a Florida tag. The officer pulled him over in a shopping mall parking lot and arrested him without incident. Frisina was in the car’s passenger seat.

Oliver asked, “Did she tell you why she left?”

“We haven’t got into all of that that yet, and we will at some point,’ said Scarlet. “Right now we are so thankful and so blessed that she is safe and that we are together again.”

According to the arrest warrant, the teen’s father discovered sexual messages in Snapchat after she disappeared that “confirmed a possible relationship” between his daughter and Rodriguez.

And Scarlet Frisina was told by one of Caitlyn’s friends that “Rian wanted Caitlyn to leave the country with him” and “she didn’t know how to get out of it” and was afraid “he would mess up her life.”

Oliver asked, “What’s the message you want to send out to other parents after going through this week?”

“Because you don’t know what tomorrow brings, is to hug your babies every day and to tell them how much you love them, and make sure that they know that they can come to you with anything and that you can work through whatever it is,” Scarlet said.

Rodriguez faces a felony charge in Florida of interfering with child custody; he could face additional federal charges for taking Frisina across state lines.

Officials say if there are no local charges filed in New York, they expect Rodriguez to be extradited to Florida this week.

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