Virginia teen found following Amber Alert; suspect in custody

A Virginia teen was found safe Thursday after an Amber Alert was issued by state police.

Virginia State Police had activated the alert after it was reported that a Stafford County teen was forcibly taken from a convenience store store Wednesday night.

Jah’nyrah Fernandez, 17, of Spotsylvania, had been last seen Wednesday night around 10 p.m. at 2142 Jefferson Davis Highway. The location is a small plaza with a Courthouse Valero and a convenience store.

Her alleged abductor, Rodney Richards, 19, also of Spotsylvania, a man police described as an acquaintance of hers, threatened to “shoot up” the business where the abduction occurred, the alert said.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that Richards is in custody.

A witness saw Jah’nyrah Fernandez enter the convenience store visibly distraught. She asked to use the phone and the clerk provided her with one. While she was trying to call a relative for a ride, Richards allegedly entered the store, took the phone and forced Jah’nyrah Fernandez out of the store and into a vehicle.

Police have warrants for Richards for abduction, assault and battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and driving suspended.

The alert was officially canceled at 9:41 a.m.

Contact the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400 or visit for more information. Contact the Virginia State Police at 1-800-822-4453.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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