A man who investigators say frequently checked a teenager out of school without her parents' knowledge and fled to Mexico with her has returned to Pennsylvania.
District Attorney Jim Martin announced Saturday that Kevin Esterly, 45, has been extradited to Lehigh County. He was taken into custody in Miami on March 18 and brought back from Florida to Lehigh County by Allentown Police Department Detective Andrew Hackman and Lehigh County Detective Edward Ressler Saturday.
Esterly is charged with interference with custody of children after he allegedly took a 16-year-old girl from her school on several occasions between November, 2017 and February, 2018 and to Mexico on March 5 without the consent of the teen's mother.
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Federal agents and Mexican authorities found Esterly and the teen in Playa del Carmen on March 17 and flew them to Miami. An extradition hearing was held Monday for Esterly.
The girl arrived in Philadelphia on March 18 and was taken home to Allentown, 60 miles (97 kilometers) away.
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.
The teen'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.