Teen Reunited With Family After 3 Years

Feb 15, 2006

An Austin teenager has been found alive three years after disappearing.

Chelsea Castorena is reunited with her family members Wednesday after she
was located in Tijuana, Mexico — across the border from San Diego.

Authorities, working off an anonymous tip, found Chelsea Castorena in
Tijuana where she was living on the streets.

She is in good condition, but Mexican officials say she’s been living a
hard life.

“She’s in good condition given what she’s gone though. She’s been using
drugs for some time, and she looks older than her real age,” Guillermo
Gonzalez Smith with Tijuana Police said.

Castorena was last seen at her Austin home in February 2003. The FBI says
she was lured from her home to Tijuana.

The then-15-year-old was originally classified as a runaway.

“She missed a lot of good years there, and hopefully she can recover some
of those when she is reunited at home,” Special Agent Jan Caldwell with
San Diego FBI said.

Mexican authorities found Chelsea and helped her reunite with family
members living in San Diego.

The FBI says they believe this is an isolated incident and not part of a
larger operation.

“She was lured to Mexico under the pretense of something false whether it
be work, romance or an exciting life. You know that’s still part of the
investigation that we have to tie-up loose ends,” Caldwell said.

News 36 spoke to Chelsea’s father in Austin Wednesday. He says he was
told his daughter was found late Monday and has not been able to sleep
since.

He is in contact with the FBI, who is still investigating Chelsea’s
disappearance trying to determine who’s responsible.

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