The mother of Caitlyn Frisina says her daughter's former coach is a family friend who appeared to pose no threat

By Jeff Truesdell
November 28, 2017 12:28 PM

Police say a 17-year-old Florida girl who went missing Sunday is traveling with her 27-year-old high school soccer coach, PEOPLE confirms.

Authorities in Columbia County, Florida, believe that Caitlyn Frisina left home of her own accord, and is likely riding in a red Mercury Sable with Rian Rodriguez, according to statements posted on the Facebook page of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the statement, Caitlyn left behind her cell phone whose data had been wiped clean.

The statement says Rodriguez is the head boys soccer coach at her school. Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Katina Dicks tells PEOPLE that Rodriguez worked as an assistant coach on Caitlyn’s girls soccer team.

Police say Caitlyn withdrew $200 from an ATM on the day of her disappearance in St. Marys, Georgia, about 115 miles north of Fort White, Florida.

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“We have been able to verify that the two are together,” says Dicks. “As far as any intimate relationship, we have not been able to confirm any of that.”

The Columbia County School District has suspended Rodriguez. The district has restricted his contact with any students while the investigation is under way, reports the TV station News4Jax.

Caitlyn’s mother, Scarlet Frisina, described Rodriguez as a longtime family friend who appeared not to pose a threat.

“We don’t care why she left. We don’t care what’s happened,” Scarlet Frisina told the TV station. “We just want to know that she’s safe.”

Credit: Columbia County Sheriff's Office

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“She’s intelligent. She’s athletic. She has a big heart,” the mother said. “We just can’t imagine what in the world is going on.”

Speaking to her daughter, she said, “We want you to let us know that you’re OK. We want you to let someone know that you’re OK. We want to hear your voice, baby girl. And we want you to come back home.”

Dicks says authorities have not been in touch directly with the pair, but the sheriff’s office has planned a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to share an update.

Anyone with futher information is asked to contact the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-719-2005.