Missing Northern California girl found during traffic stop, stepfather arrested

A Northern California teenager missing for nine months has been found, and her stepfather has been arrested.

Katuana Nateya Whisenant, 14, was located Saturday afternoon in Churchill County, Nevada, during a routine traffic stop, police said. 

A trooper pulled over the vehicle she was traveling in with her stepfather, Santos Flores-Roman, 39, of Santa Rosa. 

Flores-Roman was arrested and charged on suspicion of keeping a child from their parents.

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Whisenant was unharmed and healthy, Crescent City Police Chief Richard Griffin said.

"It’s like child abduction but different, because she voluntarily ran away," Griffin explained.

Whisenant had run away from her parents’ home in Crescent City to Santa Rosa where her father stepfather had moved, according to the Press Democrat

Since she is a Yurok Indian, tribal police contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which subsequently involved the FBI in the investigation.

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"We had last located him in Chico based on his license plate," said Griffin. "Then, out of the blue we get this call that they found her. We had an arrest warrant out on him."

"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," he said. "It was the best-case scenario."