Alarming new details in disappearance of New Bedford teen Jalajhia Finklea

Alarming new details in disappearance of New Bedford teen Jalajhia Finklea

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Four days after U.S. Marshals shot and killed Luis Barboza in a Florida McDonald’s parking lot, there is no sign of what happened to Jalajhia Finklea, the teenager authorities say Barboza kidnapped on October 20 from New Bedford.

Sources told Boston 25 News' Bob Ward that law enforcement is looking for Jalajhia all across the country, but her whereabouts remain unknown. However, an arrest warrant for Barboza, who was 20 years older than Jalajhia, provides alarming new details on the case and raises new concerns for her wellbeing.

Jalajhia is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. She lives in New Bedford with her mother, Amanda Costa.

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“I just want my kid back,” Amanda told Boston 25 News in an exclusive interview. “I’m feeling angry.”

Alarming new details in disappearance of New Bedford teen Jalajhia Finklea

Jalajhia Finklea was last seen on October 20 getting into Barboza’s car, which was parked around the corner from her home. According to the arrest report, Jalajhia was 17 years old – she turned 18 the next day – and five months pregnant.

Earlier on October 20, Jalajhia started a two-day medical procedure at a Boston clinic. On the 21st, when Jalahia didn’t return to Boston to complete the procedure, the clinic called Amanda Costa, warning her that Jalajhia’s life was at risk if she didn’t follow through.

Amanda Costa reported her daughter missing, and almost immediately a multi-state investigation got underway. According to the arrest warrant, Jalajhia left her home while Amanda was picking up a prescription for the second step of the procedure.

At 5:21 p.m., Jalajhia got into Barboza’s rented car. Jalajhia was never seen again.

A half an hour later, Jalajhia’s cellphone was discarded on the side of Route 140 North in New Bedford at mile marker 7.6, close to the Freetown border. Her cellphone was recovered days later.

From that point over the next week, Barboza’s cellphone was turned on and off.

But authorities, using cellphone information and license plate readers, managed to track Barboza. According to the arrest report, Barboza’s cell phone pinged on Route 95 South in Hopkinton, R.I. an hour and fifteen minutes after Jalajhia’s cellphone was discarded.

It appears Barboza spent the night at highway rest stops in Woodbridge and Cherry Hill, N.J. The next day he drove north to New York City, where his car was picked up in the Lincoln Tunnel. Then it turned south again, going back to the Woodbridge rest area, then through Washington D.C. and South Carolina.

On October 23, Barboza was tracked to a Jacksonville, Fla. McDonald’s where he ordered, “a small meal with one drink.”

For the first time, surveillance showed the interior or Barboza’s car, there was no sign of Jalajhia.

The next day the car showed up in Houston, Texas, before returning to the Crestview, Fla. area where Barboza lived. It was there that U.S. Marshals tracked him down Thursday.

Barboza was spotted leaving a McDonald’s restaurant in Crestview. U.S. Marshals approached him, and authorities say he shot at them. They fired back, killing him.

Jalajhia could be anywhere from New Bedford to New York, New Jersey, Texas and Florida. Amanda Costa is holding out hope that she will see her daughter again.

“I’m hoping she’s still alive out there,” she said. “She can see me right now, and find her way home, that’s what I’m hoping.”

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