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My Runaway Son in GA: I'm Frantic and Scared, Advice, Pleas

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  • My Runaway Son in GA: I'm Frantic and Scared, Advice, Pleas

    My 17 year old son has been gone for over two weeks, and I am not only scared for him, but frustrated as to what remedies are available. He is listed with the NCMEC, but I have gotten limited assistance with local law enforcement. He is at risk due to a number of factors which include cerebral palsy, developmental delay, suicide by his dad and step dad, and unusual influence by a much older woman, that I believe has even "brainwashed" him to distance himself from me and his family. It has been reported to me that he has attempted suicide twice himself. I made the mistake of waiting to report him missing to the local jusrisdiction as I had spent days "chasing" him within two different jurisdicitions I was told he was seen in. Also, I had hired a private investigator to aid me in my search. I became aware that someone had told him I was trying to have him arrested, which certainly wasn't true, but after this, he has not responded to even text messaging from me. This woman, almost 50 years old, has spread vicious rumours about me to friends and family, and has been known to disparage me in front of my child, who, to my great surprise, did not seem to object. She also lied to the police recently, since my child's disappearance, and told them she has a signed waiver from me, giving her full custody.

    I admit to have had some emotional illness, especially during the last two years, after finding his stepfather when he took his own life. Unfortunately, this, coupled with some undeserved critism, even to the small local law enforcement department, has greatly affected my rapport with the detective, who told me I wouldn't even be allowed to know any details of the investigation. I certainly do not want to get into a fight with them, but at the same time, there is nothing to suggest I am an unfit parent for my son, and he has never been abused or neglected - quite to the contrary, I have probably spoiled him a bit, attempting to make up for the traumas we have both suffered.

    I need to find out how I can at least get him declared an unruly juvenile, if no other better alternative is available. I don't want to get him into any trouble, but fear for his safety, and am very worried considering the extremely unusual relationship he is in with this woman.

    This woman is one who is very sneaky, in that she appears to be a quite, helpless, victimized type, and although she is married, pulls this "poor me" attitude to manipulate my son into spending inordinate amounts of time doing her bidding.

    Please, any legal suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I need to get my son home and get him some help before he becomes a victim of what I truly consider to be a predator.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: My Runaway Son in GA: I'm Frantic and Scared, Advice, Pleas

    Hello,

    Thank you for contacting us at the National Runaway Switchboard and we hope that we can be of service to you in this time of need. We imagine you are probably feeling angry, frustrated, upset, frantic, confused, helpless or scared. However, we appreciate your time and effort to reach out to us. Although we are not in the position to offer you advice, we hope that through our communication, we can provide you with some ideas into what we do and who to contact at this time. You situation is very important to us and we hope that our services can assist you in a variety of ways. Our job is to: help you process why your child ran away, offer ways to help find him, and to help prevent it from happening again. However, as you have already defined much of his behavioral patterns, here are some helpful hints to consider: We recommend that you file a police report. You are welcomed to file a police report on your missing child for two reasons: in order to identify his status if he is picked up and to help prevent yourself from being charged with neglect, if your son is injured while a runaway. Have you considered what to do and what to say when your son returns home? Have you thought about using any resources that you might need in your community such as counseling, support groups, legal services, etc. Who is supporting you while your son is missing? We hope that you remember that we are here for support and to help you discuss your feelings about the situation.

    In terms of declaring your son an "unruly juvenile," there is no at risk youth petition in Georgia. However, you can contact these Teen/Youth Court Programs for Dekalb County Teen Court at 404-294-2440, Dublin-Laurens County Teen Court at 478-277-1413, and Macon-Bibb county Teen Court, Inc. at 478-477-7468. We hope that one of these numbers can be of use to you since we are not sure what county you reside in. In case the police continue to give you a hard time, please know that it is still your right to file charges against anyone who harbors your child. Although it is not a crime to runaway, it is illegal for anyone to shelter a minor and keep that minor away from his parents.

    Have you heard from your son? Do you know where he might be or who he might be with? Did he leave a note? What is your relationship normally like? Do you know why he ran? Did he take anything with him? How are you feeling? It is important to try to be real with your feelings and to find time for yourself. Sometimes, distracting yourself with the things you like to do can give you a sense of calm and revive energy to continue on during a difficult time. Who is supporting you? It is also important to surround yourself and involve those mostly affected by the situation. We hope that you have a social network available, so that you are to cope with your son leaving and others you can count on to give a hand with your young one. However, what have you done so far to connect with him? However, what have you done so far to look? Did he take anything of importance with him? Do you think he has any money with him? Has he ever run before? If yes, where did he go? With whom? How long was he gone? What made him come home? What was it like when he returned home last time? Were you able to talk with people your son knows? We encourage you to talk with your son's friends, and their parents and stay in regular contact with them during the time your son is missing. We recommend that you contact relatives, neighbors and friends of the family. They should be notified of his status as a runaway. Are you likely come up with a positive message to relay to your son should he contact any close friends or family? Have you contact school officials? You may find it helpful to know anything school personnel have heard or if other children ran away the same day. Are there any records that may give clues about where he may have been or where he is going? For example: long distance phone records, ATM cards, pager records, emails. Another thing to consider is taking a recent picture of your child to places that your child or other youth are known to frequent in their community to see if anyone has seen him. You may also want to put up posters in their area. It’s important that the you not give away his last picture in case you need to show it to anyone else.


    Since he is missing, we provide referrals to resources such as Child Find (1800-426-567, Child Protection Education of America (1-800-872-2445), Vanished Children’s Alliance (1-800-826-4743), and Operation Lookout (1800-782-7335). These are agencies designed to assist and support you when your child is missing. If he has a cell phone, have you considered calling the phone company and find out if they have any services that might be helpful, such as caller ID and automatic call back? Are you able to check with the phone company, what you need to do in order to have a call traced, if necessary. You may also want to double check, that your phone can accept collect calls as youth will often try to call home this way. One of our partner agencies called Team H.O.P.E. (Help Offering Parents Empowerment) at 1-866-305-4673, http://www.teamhope.org, availability varies, can provide emotional support, resources, and empowerment and help you handle the day to day issues of coping as you search for your son. Another one of our partner agencies is Families Anonymous at 1-800-736-9805, http://www.familiesanonymous.org, available: 10am-4pm Monday-Friday (PST). It is a 12 step, self help, recovery, and fellowship of support groups for relatives and friends of those who have behavioral problems and has referrals throughout the U.S. It is good that you have him listed with the NCMEC. It shows that you have done some good in trying to track him down. If you wanted to use other services they provide, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) number is 1-800-843-5678, (http://www.missingkids.com) and is available 24 Hours a day. It helps design and distribute posters nationwide, functions as a referral and clearinghouse for information about missing children and can check to see if youth is listed on NCIC. However, if you were to call us at 1800RUNAWAY, we can offer to transfer your call to the NCMEC.

    When you call the National Runaway Switchboard, we can walk you through some of our services such as the message service and conference call. Each of these services function as a tool to start the process for family reunification. However, if you call to leave your child a message with us, the only way your child will get this message is for your son to call us back and ask for the message. We encourage you to tell your child’s friends that there is a message for him at the NRS and he should call in to pick it up. Unfortunately, due to our confidential policy, you will not be able to call back to see if your child has picked up a message that was left for him. But, if your son chose to leave you a message, our liners are expected to deliver it to you. The message service opens the door for the conference call. The conference call works to connect the child with you, in order to start healthy communication with our liners facilitating the process. These are just a few of the services we offer and hope you think about some of these services in the future,if necessary. We look forward to hearing from you again and if you decided to reach us over the phone, sometimes having a lived conversation can put things into perspective for you. Until we hear from you, good luck, and the best to you, and your family.

    -NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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