Teen texts mom that man won’t allow her to get out of car and won’t return her home

A 17-year-old girl texted her mother Sunday evening that an 18-year-old man she knew wouldn’t allow her to get out of a car they were traveling in and refused to take her home.

Local law enforcement, led by the Washington State Patrol, was able to locate the car using GPS, and the girl was returned to her mother uninjured.

River Mario Barrios was booked Sunday, Oct. 13, into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment (domestic violence).

The State Patrol was first notified at approximately 8:47 p.m. by the mother, Trooper Heather Axtman told The Bellingham Herald, after she received texts from her daughter that Barrios would not allow her out of the 2005 green Toyota Sienna they were in.

Axtman said troopers from Skagit and Whatcom counties began looking for the Sienna along Interstate 5, and, using GPS, they could see the car heading northbound near Old Samish Road.

Traffic cameras in Bellingham helped a trooper briefly catch sight of the Sienna at Old Fairhaven Parkway and 12th Street, before Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies located a car matching the description at Old Fairhaven Parkway and 30th Street, Axtman said.

The Sienna was stopped at the Shell gas station near the southbound I-5 on-ramp and the Bellingham Police Department confirmed the license plate number before Troopers arrested Barrios at approximately 9:21 p.m.

The girl was released back to her mother at approximately 11 p.m., Axtman said.


If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour Help Line: 360-715-1563, Email:

Lummi Victims of Crime: 360-312-2015.

Bellingham Police: You can call anonymously at 360-778-8611, or go online at

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.