When Nathan Salas – a 27-year-old from Merced – inquired online about the Wiccan religion, he says he was led to a 14-year-old girl from Hamden, Connecticut.
“It went from learning Wicca to learning about her as a friend. I started learning about her home life,” said Salas.
Like most teens, the girl complained about her parents.
“She would tell me how her father had anger issues and how her mother was an alcoholic,” said Salas.
After trying other avenues, Salas took matters into his own hands.
The teen left a suicide note and the two flew from Connecticut to California to start a new life.
“Nothing sexual, nothing like that,” said Salas.
Salas said he planned to help her find work once they arrived in California, but Sacramento Sheriff’s deputies got a different story.
“It appeared they were ready to live happily ever after. In fact, Mr. Salas had family members there to pick them up and he had told them this was a young lady of legal age who was an adult, his significant other,” said Jason Ramos with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
After the girls parents reported her missing yesterday, investigators checked her phone records. They learned that Salas had flew to Connecticut and purchased a ticket for the girls to return with him.
“Good information between our law enforcement deputies basically led to our deputies picking them up as soon as they got off the plane late last night,” said Ramos.
Salas was taken into custody and now faces a felony charge for taking a minor without her parents consent.
“Do I regret trying to get her out of her home that was abusive? No. Do I regret not waiting until she was 18 to do it legally? Yes,” said Salas.