Parents Fear ‘Boy’ Who Lured Daughter Into 900-Mile Trip in Stolen Car May Have Been Predator
(CYPRESS, Texas) -- A 13-year-old Texas girl who took her brother's car and set off on a 900-mile journey to find a supposed 12-year-old boy she'd met online now feels everything "Dylan" told her may have been lies, while her parents are relieved their daughter was found before she met up with someone who might have been a predator.
Beth Robinson, from Cypress, Texas, was only 130 miles away from Hodgenville, Tenn., where she planned to meet "Dylan," when she was stopped by a state trooper, after her quick-thinking parents contacted the police.
But the question that remains is whether "Dylan," whom she had met in March while playing the Call of Duty Xbox game, is really the 12-year-old boy he said he was.
"We're trying to confirm that the person who was on the other end was actually a 12-year-old," Tressa Robinson told ABC News. "There were texts and voicemails sent by him, and they're very alarming."
The Robinsons discovered their daughter was missing Thursday morning when they went to wake her up for school, she said. They believe Beth left between 4 and 5 a.m., Tressa Robinson said.
She and her husband tried repeatedly to call their daughter, but the girl didn't take her cell phone, Robinson said. When they checked her phone records to figure out whom she was talking to, they discovered "Dylan."
From the voice mails and text messages they found, they determined that she was likely headed to his home, 921 miles away, Robinson said.
Robbie Robinson, Beth's dad, jumped in the car to go after his daughter.
"Go find my baby, get on the road," Tressa Robinson said she told her husband.
Robinson said she was on the verge of a panic attack as she waited to hear the fate of her daughter.
"Could she be abducted, could someone lure her into their vehicle, could they get into hers?" she said, crying. "If anything like that would have happened I would have been devastated."
As the girl's father chased his daughter, police tracked her whereabouts through the ATM card. Beth withdrew money twice in an hour, her mother said, but when she stopped in Hope, Ark., her card was declined six times.
Strangers finally gave the young girl $20 for gas, but no one questioned her age, Tressa Robinson said. Fortunately, the stop gave Robbie Robinson some time to catch up.
Beth made it all the way to Nashville, Tenn., before she was finally stopped by a Tennessee state trooper who had been alerted that she was heading his way and calculated when she was likely to pass him on the road. He stopped Beth at 10:24 a.m., her mother said, with only 130 miles left in her journey.
"I can't thank him enough," she said, calling the trooper a hero.
Police said Beth was nervous and scared, but otherwise fine when they stopped her.
When Robbie Robinson arrived to pick her up, she had only one thing on her mind, to go see "Dylan," so he agreed to take his daughter to find him, Tressa Robinson said.
"You need to get her to her point of destination because if you don't she may try to do this again, because she didn't succeed," she said. "I'd rather we be there to witness, chaperone, and just be there with her than her try to do this again on her own."
But they were never able to find the home "Dylan" said he lived in, and after hours of searching, Beth agreed to go home, her mother said.
Tressa Robinson is unsure of what her daughter was planning on doing when she got to the house in Hodgenville. Beth says that she feels that "Dylan," who at one point told her he would even walk to her home in Cypress, may have been lying to her the whole time, her mother said.
"She said, 'I feel deceived right now, and I feel hurt. Everything that was told to me was all lies,'" Tressa Robinson said.
"I'm starting to have my doubts. I'm really scared. I don't know what type of situation she would have found herself in," she said.
Tressa also says that she was shocked by her daughter's elaborate plan of stealing the ATM card and changing the car's plates.
"I don't know if my daughter would have been witty enough to switch the plate on the car," she said. "That had to be coerced. I don't believe that my daughter would have been able to think of that on her own. Not at 13 years old."
Robinson said she had no idea what her daughter was doing while she played on her Xbox in her bedroom.
"You buy the game systems for your children, but I don't play, I don't understand how they work," she said. "I knew it had Internet access and that she could communicate. I didn't know these things allowed you to email and have conversations.
"When I was able to see the messages I was like, 'Oh no.' I became very concerned and very educated very quickly," she added.
Robinson said her daughter's Xbox will now be placed in a central location in the house and she urges other parents to do the same. The girl will not be allowed to use the gaming system and will no longer be able to use her Facebook account.
She said that in addition to a yet-to-be-determined punishment, they will also be seeking counseling for their daughter.
"It's going to be a little more in depth," she said. "She has to understand the dangers that she put herself in and what she put our family through."
Police in Nashville were unavailable to comment on the case, but Tressa Robinson told ABC News that no charges will be filed against Beth.
A sheriff in Harris County, where the family lives, will be speaking with them on Monday about possible fines or charges in the case.
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