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Missing Petaluma teen found alone, unharmed on East Coast

A Petaluma teenager missing since Monday was located, alone and unharmed, by authorities in New Jersey early Friday.

Justin Franz, 15, was found in the state capital of Trenton, at an Amtrak station near the border with Pennsylvania.

His parents, who on Wednesday announced his disappearance, had said they feared he was headed to New York City to connect with a Pennsylvania man he had met online.

The Casa Grande High School sophomore called home for the first time Thursday at about 7 p.m.

"I was just so elated, I was just jumping up and down and telling him that I love him and everyone misses him," said his mother Nanette Franz.

Speaking from Phoenix, Ariz., where he was waiting for a connecting flight to the East Coast, the teenager's father, Roland Franz, said his son did not meet with the man they suspect had tried to lure him across the country.

Using information Nanette Franz dug up on their son's computer, authorities located the man at his home in Pennsylvania, Roland Franz said. He did not know if authorities took any actions after contacting the man.

"That was our number one concern, that they got to him before they got to each other," said Franz, who earlier in the week said the man's communications with his son indicated he was a "predator."

The break came Thursday when Justin called home. Though he called from a payphone and quickly ran out of change, Petaluma detectives traced the call to Trenton and alerted New Jersey authorities, Roland Franz said.

At 4:57 a.m. Friday, New Jersey Transit police contacted Petaluma police to say they had found the teenager on a train and that he was safe.


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