ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man who frequently checked a teenager out of school without her parents’ knowledge and fled to Mexico with her will soon be in the custody of Pennsylvania authorities.
Federal agents and Mexican authorities found 45-year-old Kevin Esterly and 16-year-old Amy Yu in Playa del Carmen on Saturday and flew them to Miami. An extradition hearing was held Monday for Esterly, and he will be returned to Pennsylvania in the next two weeks, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office said.
The girl arrived Sunday in Philadelphia and was taken home to Allentown, 60 miles (97 kilometers) away. Esterly faces a felony charge of interference with the custody of a child when he arrives back in Pennsylvania.
The two had been missing since March 5, when Allentown police said they bought one-way tickets from Philadelphia to Dallas and then headed to Cancun. Mexican authorities issued an Amber Alert in the case on Thursday.
Police have said they believe the teen went willingly with the married father of four, who had signed her out of school 10 times in the last few months. The girl had altered her student records to list Esterly as her stepfather, said Gary Hammer, of the Colonial Regional Police Department.
Amy’s family previously said the two met at church years ago, and the girl is friends with one of Esterly’s daughters.
Attorney John Waldron, who represents Esterly’s wife, Stacey, told The (Allentown) Morning Call on Sunday that her husband had been calling her from prison, but she refused to accept his calls and plans to file for divorce.