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Runaway Nephew

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  • Runaway Nephew

    My nephew is 15 - he first ran away when he was 12 and showed up at my house. I was so terrified that his mom would try to get me in trouble that I called the police. I did not see nor speak to my nephew until recently.

    Push forward 3 years later (Aug 2022) - I hear my nephew ran away BUT not until the next morning and he didn't show up at my house. Being I found out the next day I called his town's police dept, explained to them what I had heard and asked for a wellness check to see if he made it home since the previous night or if he was still missing (his mother and I do not speak as she is TOXIC).

    At this point, the officer calls me back and tells me they did a homecheck and he was not there. Spoke with mom and she had been "texting with him" BUT that his mom would need to come in and file a missing person's report. Also, that my town's police would be at my house to check for him cuz she accused him of being with me.

    So I sat ALL day waiting and no call back on his status; I decide to take a trip down to his town's police station for an in-person chat; low and behold - there he was with his mom and god father being reprimanded outside of the police station.

    She tries to be argumentative, but I don't feed into it because at this point I am going to play nice to get close to my nephew. I was able to get her to calm down, asked to give my nephew a hug and I told him how much I love him and that I wish he wouldn't run away again but if he ever felt the need to escape to show up at my home and I'd handle it differently this time.

    Well, here it nephew ran away and showed up at my house 3 weeks later. I took him in, told him to shower and gave him clean clothes and fed him BUT I am terrified of getting in trouble for "harboring" him but I also don't want him to not trust me if I talk to him and tell him that we have to talk to the police, because he said everytime the social workers speak to him and then his mom, she puts on this sad mom who been through trauma and they side with her and sends him back home and he said he rather take care of himself then go back. Apparently, new bf she had bew baby with is abusive to him as well.

    I was told that I can go to Probate and Family Court and speak with someone about getting custody. But I don't know what my rights are as an aunt, or if they will send him home or foster care...I'm terrified for my nephews safety, but also have to protect myself.


  • #2
    Hi there, thank you for reaching out. It sounds like your family has had some ongoing issues with your nephew running away and it sounds like he trusts you and that you want to help him. It is important to protect yourself so you do not get in trouble for harboring a runaway. It seems like talking with your nephew’s mom is not possible as you said, she is toxic. It could be helpful to find out why your nephew is running away and if there is abuse happening and if so it can be reported to child protective services. We cannot say for sure what your rights are as his aunt with trying to get temporary guardianship over him, but a resource that might be able to help is There, you can try to find some legal assistance in your area that might be able to help you or point you in the right direction.
    If you would like to discuss this further or would like additional resources, please call our hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or chat us online at We hope to hear from you soon.
    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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