MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A North Miami Beach teen who left home with a stranger over the weekend has returned home.
Jeimy Henrriquez, 15, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she began chatting with the man while the two were playing a game called “Fire MAX.”READ MORE: Deadly Crash Shuts Down Deerfield Beach Streets; BSO Cruiser Towed From Scene
“We started talking through the app WhatsApp. We got to know each other. I said come pick me up. I knew him six months. He is 22. He said he lives in Philadelphia,” she said. “I wasn’t afraid; I was conscious about what I was doing.”
North Miami Beach police said Saturday morning the man picked up Henrriquez at her home in the area of 14 Avenue and 182 Street.
Henrriquez said the man was with friends along with his brother and sister-in-law.
At around 10 p.m. Saturday, police said she called her mom crying, saying she was far away and hadn’t eaten before hanging up.
North Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Rand said they worked around the clock to find her.
“Our detectives, knowing that this was an absolute disgusting case and it was Thanksgiving weekend, worked tirelessly, 24 hours a day, along with the FBI who immediately jumped in on this case,” said Rand.
They got a break when Henrriquez contacted her mother again.
“He was very nice. I am not mad at him. I was able to call my mom after he took me to a place I knew,” she said.
“I sent my mom the address and then a detective called me,” she added.
Henrriquez said when the police arrived, they took her to a family home where she spent the night. She was then brought home.
“I returned because I regretted what I had done,” said Henrriquez.READ MORE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Who Grew Up In Miami, Could Be Next US Supreme Court Justice
She also had a message for other teens.
“Do not go with anybody. Know what you are doing. I learned a lesson. Learn from your mistakes. I am sad. I will not do it again,” she said.
Henrriquez’s mother, Ana Quintanilla, said this should be a warning to parents to be aware of what their children are doing to prevent this from happening to them.
“As parents, you cannot leave them alone, become more vigilant on what they are doing. I don’t want them to go through the same thing I went through,” she said.
She also said, “Thank God my daughter is here and thank God to the police for finding her and that we are both together again. There are still parents out there who have missing kids.”
D’Oench also asked her if she thought the 22-year-old man should be arrested.
She said, “I don’t know. I am not sure what happened.”
Rand said, “Parents should be looking at their social media, paying attention to who they’re talking to online, making sure that your children know the dangers, this is true life, this is what happens in real life and fortunate for Jeimy we were able to find her alive.”
Yair Levy, a professor at Nova Southeastern University and an expert in Cyber Security, said there are steps that parents can take to protect their children.
“To start with, parents need to have an open communication with their children. This is the most important thing, being open and educating them about threats that are out there. And monitor what they do. There is nothing wrong for their parents to know where they are using the find my device feature enabled,” Levy said. “I also think it is important for parents to have administrator accounts on their laptops and have full access to their kids’ own devices. You can have a history on their browsers. On their iPhone, you can make sure that parents have facial recognition. But I am not in favor of adding more apps as an additional way to monitor the children.”
Levy added, “As a concerned parent I find these cases very alarming. This is something that is not new. We have been seeing a significant number of such cases.”MORE NEWS: Miami Twin Brothers Will Set Sail For Harvard In The Fall
Parents can help reduce the risks by talking to kids about making safe and responsible decisions. Click Here for tips on protecting children online.