DA: Missing Mashpee Teen’s Cell Phone Found Discarded on Rt. 140
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office on Monday released new information about the search for a missing Mashpee teen and the police-involved shooting death of a Florida man who is suspected of abducting her.
Jalajhia Finklea was last seen Oct. 20, her 18th birthday, getting into Luis Zaragosa’s vehicle in New Bedford. Zaragoza, 37, also known as Luis Barbosa, died in Florida last Thursday while U.S. Marshalls were attempting to take him into custody. Finklea remains missing.
Investigators determined that Finklea's cell phone was last used to call the suspect shortly before she got into his vehicle, which he had recently rented from Logan Airport in Boston. Zaragoza turned off his own cell phone minutes after Finklea got into that vehicle. Police were able to locate 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, according to a media release from the Bristol County DA’s office.
Police learned that Zaragosa left Massachusetts and traveled south along the eastern seaboard to Florida before driving to Texas and then driving back to Florida. Police procured surveillance footage from some locations the suspect traveled through over two weeks, but none of the surveillance shows Finklea, the DA’s office said.
Massachusetts police contacted the U.S. Marshals Service to assist. Federal agents located the suspect Wednesday night and began surveilling him. Police in Massachusetts sought and obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect, charging him with kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle.
New Bedford Police detectives were en route to Florida Thursday morning as U.S. Marshals and an Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputy attempted to arrest the suspect at a McDonald's parking lot in Crestview, Florida. The suspect, who was armed with a handgun, died during an armed confrontation with police.
The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the DA's office referred all questions about Zaragosa's death to that agency. New Bedford Police and Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the DA’s office have been investigating Finklea’s disappearance.
Finklea remains missing and the search for her continues. “New Bedford Police and State Police detectives assigned to this office have been working tirelessly to locate Ms. Finklea and will continue to do so,” the DA’s office said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact New Bedford Police Department Station 3 at (508) 991-6360.