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Crime News Missing Persons

Teen Who Went Missing 9 Months Ago Found During Traffic Stop; Stepdad Arrested

A state trooper found Katuana Whisenant in Nevada "unharmed" during a traffic stop. Her stepfather, Santos Flores-Roman, has been arrested in the case.

By Chambolion Fairley

A 14-year-old girl who went missing from Crescent City, California area last summer was found during a traffic stop in Nevada on Saturday. Her stepfather, who she was with, has been arrested in the case.

Katuana Whisenant was reported missing on July 23, 2021. She had last been seen wearing a maroon-colored Aeropostale hoodie with black sweats and white crocs. 

Crescent City police originally suspected that Whisenant was on the way to Santa Rosa.

Initially, the case did not meet the criteria to qualify for an Amber Alert. Police Chief Richard Griffin said Whisenant was a “habitual runaway” — she had run away about a month prior and had returned. When she ran away this time, it was considered voluntary. 

According to Griffin, the FBI had interviewed the girl's stepfather, Santos Flores-Roman, 39, and the following day he fled.

The Crescent City Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for Santos Flores-Roman after the FBI received new information from interviews conducted in Santa Rosa. Flores-Roman was wanted on suspicion of concealing the girl from her parents. 

On April 1, The Yurok Tribe posted to their Facebook that a renewed effort was underway to locate Whisenant, who is a member of the tribe. California Highway Patrol issued an endangered and missing advisory in several counties looking for the teen girl and her stepfather.

On Saturday afternoon, a trooper pulled over a vehicle and found Whisenant and Flores-Roman in Churchill County, Nevada during a routine traffic stop. The teen girl was “unharmed,” Griffin told Oxygen.com. 

Flores-Roman was arrested and is currently in Churchill County waiting to be extradited to Del Norte County, Griffin said. 

Griffin said that Flores-Roman’s family had been interviewed about the girl and one of the members indicated that he had been hiding her.

“This investigation is not over,” said Griffin, who suggested that authorities are looking into the motive of Flores-Roman hiding Whisenant.

According to Chief Griffin, his department had suspected Santos Flores-Roman for a while but as a team of 12, he did not have the bandwidth to send authorities down to Santa Rosa for interviews. “We never gave up on the case,” he said and extended thanks to the Yurok Tribe, Bureau of Indian Affairs and all other involved organizations that helped with the search. 

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