- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2015

Federal authorities are scrambling to make sure that a 17-year-old Connecticut girl is safe after she took a 7-hour flight to Morocco to meet an Internet boyfriend that she befriended on Facebook.

Police say Rebecca Arthur boarded a plan to Casablanca from John F. Kennedy airport in New York City on Monday after “pulling a fast one on her mother.”

According to authorities, they believe the girl said she was going to take a plane from JFK to California in order to visit a friend. Flight records reveal that she took a trans-Atlantic trip to Morocco instead, however, arriving there on Tuesday.

“The daughter had no intent of going to California,” Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn, a spokesman for the Clinton Police Department in Connecticut, told reporters.

“We don’t know what her motive was, why she flew to Morocco,” Sgt. Dunn explained to New York Daily News. “Was it for suspicious intent, or was it for love, we don’t know.”

Now as officials scramble to locate Miss Arthur and get her home to the U.S., they’re looking toward whomever is behind the Facebook account for “Simo El Adala.”

Miss Arthur and and Mr. El Adala’s respective social media profiles suggest they have been in a relationship since February 2015, but authorities aren’t sure if the person purported to be a youthful-looking heavy metal fan from Uruguay even exists.

“We don’t even know if this is a real person,” Sgt. Dunn said.

“We don’t even know if he’s who he says he is, and with the turmoil in the world now, our concerns are worst-case scenario,” he told a local Fox News affiliate. “We are concerned for Rebecca’s well being, and we want her home safely.”

The U.S. State Department warns on its website that Americans traveling to Morocco should consider the “potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens” and also to be be wary of fraudsters.

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security are now trying to track down Miss Arthur, the Clinton police said, and are being aided by the U.S. Consulate in Morocco.

New details emerged from Casablanca on Friday, however, causing even more confusion in what American authorities have been treating as a missing persons case: Karim Dahbi, a journalist with the Casablanca-based Radio Plus, told Morocco World News that Miss Arthur is safe and sound with Mr. El Adala and has produced not only photographic evidence of the two together, but also what is purported to be a notarized letter from the American girl’s mom authorizing her to fly overseas.

The authenticity of the documents has yet to be verified by U.S. officials.

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