A high-school coach accused of spiriting away a 17-year-old girl had his relationship with her looked into months ago - only for investigators to conclude they were not in a relationship, it has emerged.
Rian Rodriguez, 27, is believed to have driven Caitlyn Frisina 1,000 miles from her Lake City, Florida, home to upstate New York over the course of last week.
Now police say that they scrutinised the pair's friendship in August, but that officials had concluded that there was nothing going on between Frisina and Rodriguez, who had been a family friend, according to the Daily Mail.
"There was nothing seen to be inappropriate," Columbia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sergeant Murray Smith said.
Smith continued: "Our investigators talked with numerous parents, so there was just no way to predict this.
"This is an example of how a situation that starts out and doesn't meet the criteria of a criminal investigation can balloon into something that's out of control."
He didn't elaborate on whether police had missed anything when they looked into the pair's relationship, or whether their relationship had changed since the investigation.
However, an arrest affidavit by the sheriff's office said that Snapchat messages of a sexual nature were recovered from Frisina's phone.
In at least one of them they discussed Rodriguez's genitals, the affidavit said, according to First Coast News.
If Rodriguez and Frisina were engaged in a sexual relationship, he could be in even more trouble, as the age of consent in Florida is 18, if the other person in the relationship is over 23.
The coach has already been charged with interference with child custody, a third-degree felony, and prosecutors are weighing up whether to charge him with kidnapping.
Smith didn't say whether Frisina had gone willingly with Rodriguez.
"She looks very grown up," the sergeant said. "She's a 17-year-old high school student who I feel was influenced by someone who was in control, who was in a supervisory role, and that shouldn't be.
"She's got a lot of growing up to do, even though she's a very strong young lady and a very good young lady.
"I have a lot of respect for her and I'm very proud of her that she did come and understands this is a big deal."
Frisina disappeared from her Lake City home late in the hours of November 25, or early November 26.
Both she and Rodriguez were spotted on CCTV making their way up through Georgia and the Carolinas over the following days, but then dropped off the radar.
However, on Friday an off-duty New York state trooper spotted Rodriguez's mercury red Sable in North Syracuse.
When the car turned into a Subway parking lot, the officer and other police blocked it in and arrested Rodriguez, who reportedly offered no resistance.
The high-school soccer coach has consented to be extradited to Florida for trial, and is still waiting to be picked up.
Frisina, meanwhile, was reunited with her parents - father Ward and mom Scarlet - in Salina, a suburb of Syracuse, on Saturday.
That same day arrest documents obtained by by WJAX-TV revealed that Rodriguez had intended to flee the country with Frisina.
However, a friend said that she didn't want to exit the US, but that she didn't know how to get away from the coach.
"She didn't know how to get out of it and if she did he would mess up her life," the friend said.
"We had a very, beautiful, wonderful, very emotional reunion with her a little while ago, and we are so thankful to have her back," Frisina's mother said in a statement to the press.
Scarlet had previously said that although she knows her daughter decided to leave, she believes "she was lied to and totally misled".
Marcy Frisina, the girl's aunt, posted images of the reunion on her Facebook page.
Caitlyn is sitting on her father's knee and has her arm around his neck as her mother stands next to them in a pose.
"REUNITED!", Marcy Frisina wrote on her Facebook page above one of the photos she posted.
It is a happy ending to what was a harrowing ordeal for the family of Caitlyn, the teen who disappeared from her home in Lake City, Florida , last weekend.
She was found alive and safe on Friday in Syracuse, New York.
The teen disappeared at some point between the night of November 25 and the early morning of November 26, leaving her parents distraught.
She was spotted on CCTV footage in the days that followed alongside her 27-year-old high-school soccer coach, Rian Rodriguez, heading up through Georgia and the Carolinas.
But it was on Friday that their five-day flight from the law ended with Frisina being found after a traffic stop, according to a tweet from a Florida sheriff's office.
On Friday, Scarlet told CBS that she and her husband had no idea that their daughter was conspiring to run away with Rodriguez, who is a family friend.
"I don't know," she said. "We've gone over that question in our minds a thousand times since this happened."
This came as police revealed that Caitlyn already had a boyfriend, and brought him to Thanksgiving dinner last week.
"If they had a prior relationship it was a very, very tight secret. Caitlyn actually has a boyfriend. The boyfriend spent Thanksgiving with her," said Columbia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Murray Smith.
"[Rodriguez] was a fine young man, he was a mentor to the soccer team, there was no indicators that he would do something like this," Smith said.
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