Missing 13-year-old Texas girl found safe in Mexico after crossing the border to meet older man, 29, she had been speaking to online
- Ashlee Hattermann, 13, skipped school on Friday and convinced a stranger to buy her a bus ticket from Katy, Texas to Laredo, on the Mexican border
- Her parents said they believed the eighth-grader crossed the border to meet a 29-year-old man she had been speaking to on covert texting apps for a year
- Late Sunday, Mexican authorities tracked the girl down and have returned her to her parents?
- It's unclear where exactly in Mexico she was found - or how
- Experts said it appears the girl was being groomed for sex trafficking?
A 13-year-old girl was found safe in Mexico Sunday night, after running away from home on Friday to meet a 29-year-old man she had been talking to online.
Ashlee Hattermann of Katy, Texas was located with the help of Mexican authorities, though it's unclear where exactly in the country she was found - or how.??
Her parents Keith and Tiffany Hattermann said their daughter left behind a note, indicating she was on her way to meet a man she had been speaking to online for the past year.?
'We found a note in her room,' Keith Hattermann told KHOU. 'She calls the guy "daddy" and herself "baby girl." (The note read) "Daddy owns my body and my soul," over and over and over again down this sheet of paper.'
Ashlee Hatermann, 13 (pictured), has been found safe after crossing the Mexican border to meet a 29-year-old man she had been talking to online
Surveillance photo showed the teen on Friday, after skipping class to take a bus to Laredo, Texas, on the Mexican border?
Her parents took away her phone and limited her internet access in May, after discovering that she was sending graphic texts to the man on social media and covert messaging apps. They say they turned her phone over to the Harris County Sheriff Office's Cyber Crimes Division, but nothing ever came of the investigation.?
'There's been an ongoing case since May of last school year when she was talking online with a sexual predator,' her mother told the Houston Chronicle. 'It was investigated by the Harris County Sheriff's Office and unfortunately they never followed up with it.'
A sheriff's office spokesman denied this and said the case was very much still open.??
After Ashlee went missing on Friday, one of her friends came forward and said she had continued to text with the man at school on another iPhone. Her parents have no idea where she got the second iPhone.
Sunday night, local authorities in Katy, Texas announced that Ashlee had been found alive and well in Mexico
The teen's mother was the last to see the eighth grader, after dropping her off Friday morning at Thornton Middle School.
'There was nothing wrong when I dropped her off at school,' Tiffany Hattermann said. 'The only thing that threw me off was she told me she loved me when she got out of the car.'
Ashlee attended just one class before skipping school and heading to a greyhound station, where she convinced a stranger to buy a bus ticket for her to Laredo, Texas, on the Mexican border.?
Surveillance footage shows her at the bus station, while the woman bought her ticket.??
The woman who bought the bus ticket called police Saturday morning, when she saw news reports of the missing girl and realized she had been duped into helping her out.?
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told KHOU that Ashlee told her she was trying to get back to her family in Laredo after spending the week with her boyfriend in Katy.?
In addition to buying her the bus ticket, the stranger said she also bought the girl lunch.?
'I asked her how old she was; she said 18,' the woman said. 'She told me she was here all week, visiting her boyfriend. She told me that [her parents] lived in Laredo and that she had been up here to visit her boyfriend and she was trying to get back to her family.'
Police released a physical description of Ashlee over the weekend and called for the public's help in locating the teen.?
Late Sunday night, they got a call from Mexican authorities saying they had spotted the teen and were taking her to her father, who had flown down to Mexico City to find his daughter.?
Experts have said that it appears Ashlee was being groomed for sex trafficking.?
'Immediately, it had signs of trafficking 101,' Debi Tengler, chief relations officer with Arrow Child & Family ministries, told KHOU. 'Often times it can be a Romeo relationship or a daddy relationship, where they become the caretaker or protector, the one who values and appreciates that child, building a sense of security in them and often times brainwashing them against their healthy, biological family.'??
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