According to Aurora Police, Cathey drove all the way from California to get the teen. Police said the two had been communicating online and arranged a meet-up.
The teen was first reported missing Tuesday night. Aurora Police believed it was a runaway case, but became suspicious when they looked through the girl’s phone and social media accounts, learning she had been in contact with Cathey.
“Very scary, his age doesn’t have any business with a 13 year old,” said Agent Matthew Longshore with Aurora Police.
It was only an hour after police released a description of Cathey’s 2001 Ford Crown Victoria that Utah Highway Patrol recognized the car along I-70 in Richfield, Utah, a more than seven-hour drive from Aurora.
According to the arrest report, when highway patrol pulled Cathey over, the responding trooper directed him to roll down the passenger window and then the back passenger window, which is when they say they noticed a young female lying across the back seat underneath a blanket. The trooper said it seemed like she was was acting as if she was trying to hide.
Cathey was asked to get out of the car, and he was put in handcuffs. He was asked if he had anything illegal on him, and he told investigators he had methamphetamine in his pocket, which ended up amounting to 10 grams. A meth pipe was also found in the car.
Officers took Cathey into custody without incident, and the 13-year-old is now safe with law enforcement. Aurora Police is working with the FBI to send the teen back home to Colorado.
“I don’t believe we know yet what she has told our partners in Utah, we’ll get her back to Colorado, where we will try to interview her, to find out what led up to her leaving, meeting up with Navarro, and of course, their trek across the country,” Longshore said.
Police will not say which social media app the two used to communicate.
This is the second time in a week in the Denver metro area that a young girl has been lured out of her home by an older man they met online. Police say Michael Patrick Buckley, 30, was arrested last Wednesday for sexual assault of a child after he allegedly met up with an 11-year-old Westminster girl. She, too, had been missing for a day before police found her.
Police urge parents to be vigilant to protect their kids.
“Parents, just be involved with your kids, know who they’re talking to online, check their phones, be invading of their space,” Longshore said. “They’re your kids, you need to keep them safe. Check their social media and know what they’re doing online.”