Teen reunites with family after being found safe in Harlingen


"We were not going to stop until we had her home," her mother, Jennifer Black, said. "We do love her and that we have missed her."

After a three-day ordeal that seemed like an eternity, now mother and daughter are together again.

"Hug on her, love on her and just take it from there," Black said.

The emotional reunion happened just after 2am Thursday outside the Harlingen Police Department. The 14-year-old victim was carrying a teddy bear as she walked next to her mother.

Hours earlier, the man who police say kidnapped the teen and drove her almost 350 miles south of Houston, was transported to the Cameron County Jail, where he faces charges of kidnap and aggravated sexual assault. He's been identified as Randy Johnson, 51, and authorities say he's confessed to kidnapping the victim.

The teen, who disappeared from her home in Magnolia on Monday, was found at a trailer home in Harlingen Wednesday morning.

"She's just lucky that she wasn't hurt, lucky that she wasn't -- didn't make her disappear somewhere," said Chief Deputy Gus Reyna with the Cameron County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities with the Cameron County Sheriff's Office say Johnson at one point lived in Harlingen. A tip from one of his friends led them there.

"The best part is that I'm glad that they didn't take her into Mexico," Reyna said.

Just miles from the border, this story could have gone from bad to worse. Instead, the teen is now safe and in the arms of her family.

Johnson went before behind a judge Thursday afternoon. He is still being held in Harlingen.

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 teen.

Copyright © 2024 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.