MAGNOLIA, Texas -- Jennifer Black traveled to South Texas overnight to pick up her teenage daughter, who was allegedly kidnapped by a former family friend earlier in the week.
The mom said she had no way of getting to Harlingen and asked KHOU 11 News Reporter Malini Basu for a ride. The trio picked up the girl at a police station early Thursday morning and then returned to Houston.
Black's 14-year-old daughter disappeared on Monday as she went to check the mail, family members said.
"Everybody told me the last time they saw her was by the mailbox on a cell phone. How did she get the cell phone? I just took a cell phone from her. He had got her another cell phone," said Rochelle Laridon, the teen’s aunt.
An Amber Alert was issued the next day after a former family friend allegedly called the family, taunting them about the girl's disappearance.
On Wednesday, detectives said they found the teenager with 51-year-old Randy Johnson at a trailer park home in Harlingen, where he used to live.
The teenager, who has been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder and the mental capacity of a 5-year-old, told her mother that Johnson gave her rings to wear to make it look like she was married. She also told her mom that Johnson gave her alcohol and bought her underwear.
According to family, Johnson is a former co-worker of the girl's father, and he lived with the family as he underwent treatment for colon cancer. Johnson was later kicked out of the home, the family said.
Police were able to track down Johnson and the girl using cell phone signals.
After finally arriving home, the mother choked back tears as she thanked those who helped her.
“Thank you everybody for your support and your prayers to get her back safely, and we thank Channel 11 for bringing us all this way and getting us back home. We’re just glad to be back home and have her back in our arms. We thank everybody at this time. We appreciate it,” Black said.
The teen was also grateful.
“Thank you, I am glad to be home,” she said.
The suspect is now in the Cameron County Jail on charges of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
"I'm strong on the outside, but on the inside I'm an emotional wreck behind closed doors," Black said.