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FDLE: Missing 16-Year-Old Girl Found Safe

Via News4Jax
Elizabeth Marie Rivas-Cordona and Julian Salazar-Zavala

A 16-year-old girl that was reported missing Sunday has been safely found, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The girl was reported missing from her Arlington home Sunday night with a 29-year-old man the family has identified as the girl's estranged stepfather.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Elizabeth Marie Rivas-Cordona left her home off Lone Star Road about 11 p.m. Sunday in the company of Julian Salazar Zavala.

According to police, Salazar-Zavala was also found with Rivas-Cordona. He is being held by authorities on interference with custody charges, our News4Jax partner reported. 

The family told News4Jax that Zavala used to live the Arlington home with his wife and they were suspicious that something was going between the teen and Zavala in 2015.

They were concerned because, even though Elizabeth apparently left voluntarily, Zavala has a criminal history and has shown he can be violent.

"The situation is very difficult because she is a child," Elizabeth's aunt, Marta Cardona, said. "We are afraid that he might do something to her."

Zavala was charged with domestic battery by strangulation in August 2016 after a neighbor reported seeing him choke his wife, according to News4Jax.

According to the arrest report, "He held his hands around the victim's throat for approximately 30-40 seconds before releasing his hold on her neck.”

While Zavala originally pleaded guilty, his attorney filed a motion that it be withdrawn, claiming his client didn't understand the court forms because they were in English and he only speaks Spanish. In November 2016, Zavala's motion was granted and he was not prosecuted.