Sumter girl missing for 3 weeks reunited with family

By Jennifer Miskewicz

(Charlotte) June 30, 2005 – It’s the outcome Diana Romay’s family hoped
for. The Sumter Girl, who just turned 13, was reunited with them at the
Charlotte airport on Thursday afternoon.

Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson was there, “It’s a wonderful feeling
to have Diana home and it’s a wonderful reunion with her family.”

Investigators found Romay unharmed Wednesday in a house in New York with
Oscar Hernandez Palacios. He is an acquaintance who lived near Romay in
Sumter. He’s twice her age.

Palacios is in a New York jail. He’ll be charged with kidnapping.

Investigators say the adult had no authority to go anywhere with Diana
without her parents’ permission, even if she agreed to go with him, which
remains unclear.

Sumter investigators say they don’t know yet the kind of relationship
Romay and Palacios had, or the circumstances they left town under.

Margaret Frierson directs the state chapter of the Center for Missing and
Exploited Children and says this kind of situation is becoming more
common, “Older men who are maybe not successful in courting women their
age, are better at courting a younger girl.”

Frierson says for some kids the grass is always greener on the other
side, “I’m going to take you away from this and we’re going to live this
life of luxury and love and attention. And some children crave that.”

News 10 learned investigators believed Palacios had some family in New
York and that’s why they concentrated a search there.

Police took Diana directly from the airport to her home. Later they’ll
ask her for some details on how she got to New York.

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