Teen Found By Team Amber Rescue

Missing girl may have met man on Facebook

By Tony Shin
|  Thursday, Feb 9, 2012  |  Updated 11:02 AM PDT
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Jeff Ralston just happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

He was shopping at a Vons grocery store on El Norte Parkway Wednesday when he saw a flyer for a missing 16-year-old girl in the store window.

"All of a sudden this girl walks up and hesitates," Ralston said in an exclusive interview.  "I was looking at her and looking at the poster."

Ralston said the girl walked into the Vons with a man he thought was her boyfriend.  That's when something clicked in his head.  The girl looked just like the missing teenager except the hair color was a little darker.

Moments later the girl walked out of Vons and ripped down the flyer before leaving with the man.

Ralston followed the two for a short distance as he called Escondido Police. 

Officers arrived and arrested the man who turned out to be 22-years-old.  The girl had been reported missing a day earlier when she didn't show up for classes at Escondido High School.

Her mother spoke to NBC San Diego by phone and believes the man lured Bentley away.

She thanked Ralston for finding Bentley.   "I am forever indebted to him for finding her,"said the teen's mother.

Ralston is also a member of Team Amber Rescue, a volunteer search and rescue group that helps find missing children.

The group was founded by Ralston's neighbor, Carrie McGonigle, after her daughter, Amber Dubois, was abducted and murdered while walking to school on February 13, 2009.

McGonigle said she is proud of Ralston for having the presence of mind to look at the missing girl flyer and continue to investigate when he saw a girl matching the description.

"It's so close to Amber's anniversary date and it's an awesome feeling, I hope we continue with this success and we will," McGonigle said.

Police could not be reached for any information about the man who was arrested.

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