Family Desperate For Answers As California Teen Vanishes After Spending Day With Male Friend

The friend allegedly told police he’d dropped 16-year-old Aranda Briones off at an area park, but police haven’t been able to confirm she was ever there. 

By Jill Sederstrom

The family of a missing 16-year-old is desperately searching for answers after the California teen vanished 10 days ago after spending the day with a male friend from school.

Aranda Briones, 16, was last seen Sunday, Jan. 13 but never returned home that night, sparking an investigation that has enlisted help from the FBI and an anti-human trafficking team, according to a statement from the Moreno Valley Police Department.

Investigators are scheduled to give an update in the case later today, KTLA reports.

It’s believed Briones had spent the day with a male friend from school, who later told police that he had dropped her off at an area park that evening between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., according to KTLA.

However, the missing teen’s brother, Daniel Briones, told the news station that police hadn’t been able to find any evidence to confirm whether she had been at the park.

“They pulled footage, and they don’t know if the time was wrong, but it looks like nobody was dropped off between 6 and 6:30,” he said.

He also said that later that night a friend noticed on a SnapChat map feature that it looked like Aranda was in Rubidoux, an area 14 miles from where she was last seen, but when that friend tried to reach out to her, the phone was immediately shut off and is no longer active.

Daniel Briones said he was very close with his sister and said it's unusual that she wouldn’t have told him where she was going.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, are now asking the public for help to find the young teen.

"Nine days on a missing person case - obviously with each passing second, each passing minute, each passing day - from a law enforcement standpoint, we don't like it," Sgt. Chris Willison said Tuesday, according to KABC-TV.

Since the disappearance, investigators say they’ve scoured the citywide camera system and followed up on numerous leads about the teen’s whereabouts.

Her family is also pleading for answers.

"Nowadays, you know teenagers want to cover up for a friend or someone says I don't want to tell because I'm scared. But just come forward - the only person you're hurting right now is Aranda," her uncle Matthew Horstkotte told the local station.

He admitted the teen had made a “bad choice of friends” but said now he just wants his niece home safe.

Aranda is described as being 5’4”, weighing 110 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. She also has a septum piercing and was last seen wearing a white and blue jacket, a dark-colored shirt and dark jeans, police said.

[Photos: Moreno Valley Police]

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