SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A 27-year-old Florida soccer coach accused of running away with a teenage girl had just started a new job in upstate New York to fund his travels with her when he was spotted and arrested, police said Monday.
Rian Rodriguez was taken into custody in suburban Syracuse on Friday night on a Florida felony charge of interference with child custody. Rodriguez, who was suspended from Fort White High School in Fort White, Florida, had a court hearing Monday to determine if he'd be extradited.
The 17-year-old girl sneaked out of her home in Fort White on Nov. 25, authorities said.
Her parents flew to Syracuse to get her on Saturday. Rodriguez had spent childhood vacations with relatives in the area, police said.
Attorney Charles Keller said Rodriguez consented to return to Florida and was being held in jail until Florida authorities pick him up within the next two weeks.
State police investigator Todd Grant told the Syracuse Post-Standard he spotted Rodriguez's car, a red Mercury Sable, on Friday after Rodriguez left an employee orientation at a Salina direct marketing firm. He said Rodriguez had planned to work to earn money to buy fake documents to cross the Canadian border with the girl.
Grant pulled over the car and arrested Rodriguez at gunpoint in a parking lot.
Ryan McManus, owner of Prime Time Marketing, told the Post-Standard that Rodriguez said he was moving from Florida and was living in a hotel. He said the teenage girl sat in the car during the two-hour orientation.
McManus said Rodriguez asked if the girl, who he called his "little cousin," could also have a job at the company.
Information from: The Post-Standard, http://www.syracuse.com