Missing Michigan teens found in Chicago
September 8, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A girlfriend and boyfriend 13 and 14 years old, suspected of running away from home in Michigan nearly two weeks ago, were found living in an SUV in Chicago after a passerby saw their story on ABC's Good Morning America.
Their journey started in Mount Pleasant in the north central part of the state after the mother of the girl said she could no longer support their relationship.
It is a story that grabbed national headlines and it was those headlines that led the two teens to be found living outside of their car in a parking lot by a passer-by who had just seen their faces on TV.
The teens are back home Sunday night. They were picked up by their respective parents at Area North Police Headquarters Sunday afternoon. Called the Romeo and Juliet of Michigan 14-year-old Braxton Wood and 13-year-old Jayden Thomas ran away august 26th.
"The girl just said, 'We're in love and our parents won't let us be together,'" said CPD Sgt. Tim Edeling.
Speaking to Good Morning America just before they were located Sunday morning, their families say Jayden and Braxton had become very serious about each other over the course of their six-month relationship. But they were about to start at separate high schools, and just hours before they took off Jayden's mother said she could no longer support the relationship.
The teens took Braxton's family SUV and took off.
While on his Sunday morning coffee run, Lakeview resident Mark Zipperer saw Braxton walk past, minutes after seeing the teen's story on television.
"He was throwing away trash and I looked at him and passed him by like anyone else and turned around and headed right into the parking lot and got into the black SUV," Zipperer said. "And sure enough it was an Ford explorer with Michigan plates."
A look inside their parked car at Broadway and Clarendon revealed suitcases, clothes and blankets strewn all over the back seat, as well as food wrappers. Police say the teens admit to living out of the car here in Chicago for two weeks.
"They had run out of gas and the car's battery was dead in that parking lot," Edling said. They were fine. No complaints. They said they were living between Starbucks and the lakefront. They were enjoying Chicago."
Rich Knight met them a few nights ago, when the teens needed help after locking themselves out of the car. He says he got them inside and put gas in their car but did not realize they were runaways.
"They were trying to raise money," Knight said. "They were going to try and sell their clothes and some things they had."
Apparently they were trying to raise enough money so that they could leave Chicago, so it was fortunate that they were spotted when they were.
local, michelle gallardo
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