Investigators: Teen may have left with online friend

by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:

GWINNETT CO., Ga,None - Investigators believe a missing Gwinnett County teenager may be with an older man she met online.

Fourteen-year-old Galilea Magana disappeared on Dec. 19 during a shopping trip with her mother at an outlet mall in Jackson County.

The girl's mother, Linda Valencia, said Galilea stepped away to use the restroom, but never came back.

Jackson County deputies revealed to Channel 2 Action News reporter Manuel Bojorquez that the teenager met a man nicknamed "Lalo" online, and left a note stating her intentions to run away. 

Police believe the man's name could be Eduardo Hernandez or Eduardo Jimenez.

Not much is known about the man, or where the two might be -- and that is causing great concern for family and friends.

At a news conference, the family said Galiliea placed a call to a relative in Mexico two days ago, and that she was crying and said she wanted to go home, but the call ended.

"It's really heartbreaking," said Malia Randall, one of the girl's best friends at Central Gwinnett High School.

"She wouldn't run away, she had to have been taken," Randall said.

Friends say they had heard the girl talking about a much-older man she met online.

Marina Staples, a family friend now helping in the search, says even if Galilea left willingly, there's no way to tell whether she's safe.

"Truthfully, with Atlanta's history in trafficking, it's scary," Staples said. "And she's such a sweetheart and a kind person that she'd be gullible to somebody that might want to do harm to her.”

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is investigating.  Anyone with information is asked to call 706-367-8718.

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