Runaway Teen Samantha Hernandez Flees to Brazil, Sparking International Custody Case

Photo: Runaway Teen Samantha Hernandez Flees to Brazil, Sparking International Custody Case: Hernandez, 15, Ran Away With Online Boyfriend, Has Vowed to Come Home Only in a Body BagPlayABC News
WATCH Runaway Teen Flies to Brazil

The family of a U.S. teenager who fled to Brazil with her online boyfriend and a fake passport is desperate to get her back home even as she vows to return only "in a body bag."

Samantha Hernandez, 15, has been in Brazil since last month and her case has caught the attention of the State Department and the FBI.

"I hope that she comes home," her mother, Joanne Allard, told "Good Morning America" today from Worcester, Mass. "I hope that she has a change of heart."

But Samantha told ABC News from Brazil that she has no intention of coming back.

"I'm planning to stay here for the rest of my life. I really can't leave. I'm not going to leave," she said. "I'm not going back because if I do, then I'm going back in a body bag."

Samantha fled from her mother's home near Boston Aug. 29, and flew to Belo Horizonte.

She left Allard a note in her drawer.

"It basically said, 'Mom is going to die and then I'm going to get sent to Florida, then dad's going to die, so I'm just going to skip the Hell now,'" Allard said.

Allard has pinned much of the blame on an online boyfriend -- 17-year-old Gilberto Rezendo, known as "Junior" -- whom Samantha met online.

Allard said she was not impressed when he surfaced about a year ago.

"They didn't know the same friends. They didn't go to the same school," she said. "He drove a black Camaro and he didn't have a driver's license so I don't think there was very much about it that we really did like."

Samantha, who was initially taken into custody by Brazilian authorities, has been released and is now in the custody of her boyfriend's family.

Her parents, who are divorced, say they have not been able to get the help they need to bring their daughter home. Both said they would travel to Brazil, but fear that authorities there would charge them with trying to kidnap their own daughter.

"I definitely would love to just go there and be with her and definitely bring her back," Allard said, "but if she's not willing, I would literally be kidnapping my daughter from the country."

Her father, Robert Hernandez, said, "If this was a senator's daughter, if this was a congressman's daughter, somebody would have gotten her back already."

The U.S. State Department conducted a wellness check on Hernandez last week, Allard said she was told, and officials took pictures of her daughter and the house where she's staying.

U.S. Teen Traveled to Brazil Using Fake Passport

Allard questioned today how her daughter was able to get her hands on a fake passport and the money to pay for a plane ticket to Brazil, which she said cost between $1,200 and $1,500."

"She's 15 years old," Allard said. "I would really like to know who paid for that."

Mother and daughter have spoken once on the phone since Hernandez flew to Brazil.

"She was very rushed," Allard said. "There was a lot of noise in the background.

"She said that she had gotten a cell phone but I couldn't get the numbers from her correctly," she said, adding that she asked Hernandez to call her back.

That call never came.

Allard said she's already looking into how to get her daughter help when she gets home so that she does not take off again.

But her boyfriend's family questioned why neither Robert Hernandez nor Allard have come to Brazil to speak with their daughter.

"If they're so concerned about her, if they're so loving and caring, why they are not here?" Eduardo Dornelas, a family friend of Rezendo's, said. "I don't understand. I cannot have this girl with me forever."

Hernandez family attorney Albert Gayoso said, "The Brazilian authorities really did commit a grievous error when they released her into the custody of his family, rather than putting her back on a plane and sending her back to the U.S."

But Samantha seems adamant that she will remain in Brazil. She called Florida news station WBBH and told them, "I'd rather jump off a bridge with sharks and piranhas in the water, with meat tied to my neck, than go back there.

"Obviously, they don't care how I feel," she said of her parents. "I'm happy here."