On Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 2:20 p.m. the Rialto Police Department Communications Center received a call regarding a 17-year-old female who was missing. Her parents were concerned after learning from her friends that she had been having conversations with an adult male subject, later identified as Elijah Clark, via the internet. On Monday, May 2,2022 the female had not yet returned home, and Detective Watson of the Rialto Police Department began her search for the missing juvenile. Through her investigation, Detective Watson was able to obtain information related to a phone number with a New York City, NY area code, which she believed belonged to Clark. Detective Watson attempted to call the owner of the phone with no success, and followed with a text message asking the person with the phone to call her. Suspecting the juvenile victim could be in danger, Detective Watson relentlessly pursued her attempts to locate the female through various resources.
On Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 1:14 p.m. Detective Watson received a text message from the cell phone she believed belonged to Clark. The message, written by the victim, stated she needed help because Clark was refusing to let her to leave, and she wanted to return home. Detective Watson immediately reached out to the New York Police Department with the information she had discovered during her investigation regarding Clark’s possible address. New York Police Department personnel attempted to make contact at Clark’s residence, located in the 1600 block of Amsterdam Avenue, but were unable to contact anyone at the residence. The following day, at the request of Detective Watson who was convinced the female victim was being held against her will, requested New York Police Department officers to attempt to make contact at the residence once more.
At 7:47 p.m. Captain Awarro from the New York Police Department notified Detective Watson, the female had been rescued and Clark was taken into custody for several criminal charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, injury to a minor, strangulation, assault on a police officer, and multiple weapons charges. On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at approximately 9:00 p.m. the female was returned to her home in the City of Rialto with her parents. In addition to the criminal charges Clark faces in the state of New York, the Rialto Police Department has recommended several additional criminal counts to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office including PC 207 – Kidnapping, PC 288.3 – Contact with a Minor with Intent for Lewd Acts, and PC 288.4 – Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes.
The Rialto Police Department requests anyone with information related to the investigation contact Lieutenant James Mills at (909) 820-2632. Witnesses can also anonymously report information through WeTip at (800) 782-7463.