Top Headlines March 13

By: Kitty Capelle
By: Kitty Capelle

These are the most popular headlines on WHSV.com for March 13. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

Investigators Search for Missing JMU Professor

The Virginia State Police are searching for a missing James Madison University professor.

State police and dive teams are searching in the western area of Bath County and plan another dive Wednesday.

The Recorder Newspaper in Monterrey reported Harriett Cobb was last in phone contact with her family Saturday.

Sunday night, her son reported the Rockingham County woman missing.

Foul play is not suspected in the disappearance.

Don Egle, a JMU spokesman, told WHSV that the university community is concerned about Cobb and is waiting for additional information.

Rosetta Stone Layoffs May Impact Other Businesses

City of Harrisonburg Economic Development Director said more than 40 layoffs at Rosetta Stone may affect other businesses in the city.

Brian Shull said the company is a big part of the city's economy and is the largest technology company in Harrisonburg.

He said it's disappointing to hear about layoffs at Rosetta Stone.

According to Shull, the company not only brings employment but employees also contribute to the economy by shopping, eating and living in the city.

He said this could cause a ripple effect.

"We will feel that obviously. We hope it's a temporary thing and that we can replace some of those jobs and we wanna keep the company as a whole here and strong," said Shull.

He said if the jobs are not replaced, he at least the employees laid off can find work within the city.

In addition, he said, city staff could be a good resource to help employees laid off through the transition.

Teenage Runaway Calls Decision to Leave Home with Older Man a Mistake

AUGUSTA COUNTY -- On March 2nd, 16-year-old Jennifer Romero disappeared. Police found her with 22-year-old Leonel Alvaro Sis-Toj, a man she met on Facebook. Sis-Toj from Arlington is charged for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Jennifer was reluctant to say much of anything in an exclusive interview with a WHSV reporter. Ronald Flores, her step father, said she was in a very bad situation, but last night he got the best call he's ever received.

“Guys my age, don't make the mistake that I made. Later you will find out that it's a bad decision. It's hard,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer Romero planned to run away with the help of Sis-Toj after a family argument. He was a Facebook boyfriend she met only weeks prior. He came from Arlington to pick her up, but once she got to his apartment, she realized he only lived in one bedroom of it. She had second thoughts.

“It was not what she was expecting. It was something she recognized was a mistake. She apologized to her mom,” said Flores.

Jennifer was scared and didn't have a way to get home. Investigators are still trying to figure out why Sis-Toj wouldn't bring her back. They said he didn't do anything to her, but seemed to be infatuated with her.

“She is still emotionally affected from what happened. We're probably going to put through some counseling to help her. She's not the same girl who left.”

Investigators tracked Jennifer down after she made brief calls to her family and friends during the weekend.

The Augusta County Sheriff's Office said this case is an example of the dangers of social media. Having lived through this situation, Jennifer couldn't agree more and had a message to the people who were thinking of her.

“I apologize to all the people that were worried about me,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer could face charges because of the challenging investigation. She knows she did something wrong, but that doesn't matter to her family. She said she'll learn from this experience.

There are no connections between Sis-Toj and another man police arrested while investigating the case. Police say Mynor Franco-Depaz played no part in Jennifer's disappearance. Investigators will speak to the Commonwealth's attorney on his behalf.

 

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