Police suspect Robert Andrew Williams may have gotten to know Laura Stainforth in an online chat room prior to the teenager's disappearance this week in Cleethorpes, The Times of London reported Saturday.
"Laura left home on Wednesday and didn't return home and we have established she has met this man who she's met in a chat room," Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Fielding said.
The pair allegedly were seen in the seaport city of Grimsby Wednesday, the same day the girl was reported missing,
Another witness said the teenager was in Dover Thursday, police told The Times.
A countrywide search for them has been initiated, while Stainforth's cousin, Kirsty Williams, has offered an impassioned plea for news from the missing teen.
"No one is angry with you -- we just want you home," Williams said. "Please just let us know you are OK."