The mother of 16-year-old Amy Yu, who has not been heard from since running away a week ago with 45-year-old Kevin Esterly, is begging for her child’s safe return.
The two were allegedly in a secret relationship and left Allentown, Pennsylvania, in a 1999 Red Honda Accord on March 5, according to the Daily Mail.
Amy was last seen by her younger brother, John Yu, who said she ran off after they were both dropped off by their mother at a school bus stop.
Amy’s mother, Mui Luu, told CBS News that she believes her daughter was taken by Kevin Esterly, a family friend from church who had signed her out of school 10 times between Nov. 13 and Feb. 9 without her permission, according to a police affidavit.
Amy is reportedly friends with one of Esterly’s daughters and he and his wife Stacey often bring the teenage girl along with them on family vacations.
The friendship was ruined on Feb. 9 when Luu discovered that Amy had put Esterly down on school records as her stepfather.
Text messages exchanged between the pair were also found by Luu, indicating that they were romantically involved.
While the age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16, Amy’s brother John said in an interview, “Why would a 45-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl … like, that’s disgusting!”
A Feb. 15 incident that occurred at home prompted Amy’s mother to contact police, who then told Esterly and his wife to stay away from the girl.
Along with $4,000 from Esterly’s bank accounts, Amy took some jewelry, her passport and some cash.
Luu, who does not speak much English, said she is praying for her daughter to come back home safely.
“I want to tell her, ‘Amy, can you come back to me? I love you. I just hope you come back,'” she said.
Prosecutors have charged Esterly with interference of custody of children and has been banned from Amy’s charter school since February.