Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 3 updates
Man Claims He Took Teen out of an Abusive Household

Nathan Salas (File)


Charges against Nathan Salas, who was accused of taking a 14-year-old Connecticut girl out of her home and bringing her across the country, were dropped, District Attorney Jan Scully announced Tuesday.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Salas, of Merced, is off the hook. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will hand the case over to the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office.

Salas was arrested Aug. 20, when he and the girl landed at Sacramento International Airport. He was charged with detaining a minor with the intent to conceal from parents. Salas, 27, has maintained that he was rescuing the girl from an abusive household.

He and the girl met online, investigators say.

Salas faces up to 30 years in prison.


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.


Sacramento authorities have arrested a man suspected of taking a 14-year-old girl across the country.

The arrest happened at the Sacramento International Airport Monday night, according to a release from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Earlier Monday, a 14-year-old was reported missing out of Hamden, Connecticut. The girl is said to have left a suicide note before she disappeared.

Hamden Police were able to analyze the girl’s phone and dig up a cellphone number for 27-year-old Merced resident Nathan Salas. Investigators believe that the 14-year-old met Salas online and cultivated a relationship with the girl.

Hamden Police then contacted Merced authorities, who then called Sacramento International Airport dispatch to inform them about the missing girl.

Airport authorities were able to find out that Salas and the girl would be flying in from Connecticut to Sacramento. As Salas and the girl deboarded from their flight around 10:30 p.m., deputies were there to meet them.

Deputies called the girl’s father back in Connecticut and confirmed that Salas is unknown to the family and didn’t have permission to leave with him.

Salas was arrested and is now being held at Sacramento County Jail for concealing a child without parents’ consent charges. The girl is being held at Sacramento County Juvenile Hall as an out-of-county runaway.