• Katuana Nateya Whisenant was reported missing on July 23, 2021
  • Santos Flores-Roman was arrested Saturday on an outstanding warrant
  • He faces charges on suspicion of concealing the child from her parents

A teen girl in California who went missing in July has been found with her stepfather during a traffic stop in Nevada nine months after her disappearance. The 39-year-old stepfather was arrested on suspicion of concealing her from her parents, police said.

Katuana Nateya Whisenant ran away from her house in Crescent City on July 23, 2021, to be with her stepfather Santos Flores-Roman who moved to Santa Rosa. The 14-year-old was found unharmed and healthy during a traffic stop in Nevada Saturday and her stepfather was arrested on an outstanding warrant, police said, Press Democrat reported.

Flores-Roman will be extradited to Del Norte County, according to reports. "It’s like child abduction but different because she voluntarily ran away," Richard Griffin, chief of the Crescent City Police Department in Northern California, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the officials have contacted Whisenant's parents to take the teenager back home. "Since I’m a parent myself, I could imagine what it would be like for my daughter to be gone that long. I was glad to be able to make that call to the parents. It was the best-case scenario," Griffin explained.

Whisenant had run away from home multiple times before and was brought back from Santa Rosa each time. So when the girl was reported missing in July, the officials were sure that she was with Flores-Roman.

As Whisenant was Yurok Indian, the local tribal police contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs and eventually the FBI also got involved in the investigation.

During the investigation, a family member told the FBI that Flores-Roman was hiding the teenager at his home. However, after the FBI scheduled a meeting with Flores-Roman, he disappeared from Santa Rosa, Wild Rivers Outpost reported.

On April 1, the investigators issued an arrest warrant for Flores-Roman and he was pulled over by Nevada State Troopers on Saturday after they noticed something suspicious about his car.

"Everyone was trying to locate her, and they were doing house visits. She apparently was hiding in a travel trailer at his house," Griffin said. Since Flores-Roman crossed state lines, he could also face federal charges, Griffin added.

Meanwhile, Child Welfare Services said they would be investigating why Whisenant was frequently running away from home.

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