Watch CBS News

Search For 18-Year-Old Mashpee Girl Continues After Kidnapping Suspect Killed In Florida

MASHPEE (CBS/AP) -- Police are looking for an 18-year-old girl who has been missing since October 20. Jalajhia Finklea, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, was last seen getting into 37-year-old Luis Zaragoza's car in New Bedford, according to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.

Zaragoza, who also goes Luis Barbosa, was fatally shot by law enforcement officers during a confrontation in the Florida Panhandle. The shooting happened on the morning of Nov. 5 outside a McDonald's in the city of Crestview after a U.S. Marshals Service task force attempted to arrest him, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office news release. The city is located about 50 miles east of Pensacola.

As officers approached, Zaragoza fired at least once from inside a car, officials said. Officers returned fire, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jalajhia Finklea
Jalajhia Finklea (Image credit Bristol County DA)

At the time of Zaragoza's death, New Bedford Police were en route to Florida after obtaining a warrant for Zaragoza's arrest on kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle charges.

According to the D.A., Finklea's cell phone was last used to call Zaragoza shortly before she got into his rented car. Zaragoza's cell phone was turned off minutes after she got into the car.

"During the course of the investigation, police were able to locate Ms. Finklea's discarded cell phone on Route 140 in New Bedford, approximately five miles away from where she first entered into the suspect's vehicle. Police have been actively attempting to locate her and the suspect ever since," said a statement from the D.A.

Police determined Zaragoza traveled to Florida and then to Texas before driving back to Florida. Surveillance footage from some of the places Zaragoza had gone to in the last two weeks showed him, but none showed Finklea. The US Marshal's were contacted by Massachusetts police to help find Zaragoza.

Anyone with information about Finklea's whereabouts is asked to call the New Bedford Police Department Station 3 at 508-991-6360.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.