The parents of 17-year-old Caitlyn Frisina are now speaking out after their daughter left home, allegedly with a soccer coach from her high school.
"We are just thrilled to death to be together again," said the girl's mother, Scarlet Frisina.
The family returned to Florida Sunday.
Police say the teen ran off with her school's soccer coach, Rian Rodriguea, who is behind bars, accused of being a fugitive of justice.
Investigators believe the two may have had a blossoming relationship.
"It's been difficult. I'm glad to have my daughter back where I know I can protect her and keep her safe as a father always wants to do," said her father Ward Frisina.
Police say Frisina, a senior at Rodriguez's school, appeared to have climbed out her bedroom window in Lake City Florida last Saturday night, after erasing and leaving behind her cell phone.
Police searched for nearly a week. Surveillance cameras captured images of the two at a gas station and a pawn shop in the Carolinas.
On Friday, 1,100 miles away in Syracuse New York, state police spotted Rodriguez's car and found him and Caitlyn inside.
"We're looking forward to a lot more time together and being able to get back home and move forward as a family," said Scarlet Frisina.
Caitlyn's father, also a soccer coach, reacted to the fact Rodriguez was a family friend and once an assistant coach on his staff.
"It may make me a little more cautious when I'm trusting people but we have to love and cherish people and you have to let people in your life sometimes even if the cost is getting hurt sometimes," he said.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney's office are considering aadditional charges against Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has been working as a boys' soccer coach at Fort White High School, but he has been suspended pending the investigation, according to a statement from Lex Carswell, superintendent of Columbia County Schools.
Frisina has played soccer at Fort White High School, according to an online roster published by Next College Student Athlete.
Rodriguez and Frisina had been around each other "at sports events, but they've never been alone at all," Smith said.
The sheriff's office said Frisina made a $200 ATM withdrawal Sunday in St. Marys, Georgia, which is about 100 miles northeast of Columbia County. null