Missing Montgomery County girl found safe in South Texas


Her parents are relieved. They thought they might never see their daughter again. They're just glad this is almost all over.

At their home in Magnolia, they're relieved, breathing easier, but standing more than 350 miles from where she was found.

"All I could do was just break down on the floor and thank God that she's safe and that she's sound," said Jennifer Black, the victim's mother.

They were frantic. The teen disappeared Tuesday when she went out to play and never returned. The 14-year-old functions on the level of a five-year-old or six-year-old: Down syndrome, autism and ADHD are among her challenges.

She was located Wednesday morning in a Harlingen trailer park with Randy Johnson, 51. The girl's family told authorities he was from that area and likely would return there. Johnson was arrested and is charged now with kidnapping.

"I'm just glad I didn't take matters into my own hands," said Patrick Rex, the girl's father.

The victim's parents say Johnson lived with them for a time, but that they threw him out after finding a diary of hers which made them believe he was either having an inappropriate relationship with her or grooming her for one. They're thankful authorities caught up to Johnson before he crossed the border. In a chilling phone call after the abduction, they say he threatened to disappear with her forever.

"She's still a kid and I'm going make sure she stays a kid," Black said.

The family is still working out details for the girl's return home. She is out of the hospital and is said to be OK.

Johnson was transferred to the county jail after spending the better part of the afternoon at the Cameron County Sheriff's Office being interrogated by deputies and FBI agents.

Edit note: The teen was once the subject of an Amber Alert and at that time, ABC-13 identified her by name and photo. Now that she's the alleged victim of a sexual assault, we are no longer identifying the victim.

Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.