Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed quite a few missing teens being reported by the Temple Police Department on their Facebook page, including a few habitual runaways.
Sgt. Brian Moody with Temple Police Department said it may seem like lots of teens are running away, however, the numbers are on par with previous years.
Moody said, "I went and compared this time frame from January 1st to April 27th. We started in 2019, we had 72 runaways. Then for that same time period for 2022, we've had 75. We didn't necessarily count 2020, or 2021, because that was our COVID year And those numbers were skewed drastically."
Moody explains the department has made a commitment to being more transparent when it comes to letting the public know more about run always cases, by posting on social media. Those posts are hard for the public to see but especially hard for the parents of those kids on the run.
Amanda Seig and her husband Steven Seig, usually wait for their son Clayton Marquez to come home.
Steven, Clayton's stepfather said,"He kind of cared like he was going to maybe start acting out but I didn’t think he would take it this far.”
Tuesday marks the third time Clayton has gone missing. He took the bus to school and never returned home.
Mrs. Seig said, “I’ve talked to law enforcement the only thing they can do is take the report and bring him back when they find him.”
The Seigs' said they have reached out to their church, a psychiatrist, and even medication to address Clayton’s mental health barriers, but nothing seemed to be working.
“The legislation whoever has to do something to try and curb that and make more policy’s so our police officers can help," said Mr. Seig.
Lt. Brian Moody with TPD said they partner with the school district on the daily to keep kids safe, but with runaways, they have their hands tied.
"Running away, it’s is not a crime the way that you and I think of a crime," said Moody. “As far as coming up with the measures to come up with a solution to stop children from running away that’s difficult. That’s difficult for law enforcement and the school. That’s going to rely more on the parents.”
Mrs. Seig said Clayton's absence has started to take its toll on his brothers. The family hopes he can return sooner rather than later.
“I would tell him that he is loved and that we’re all worried about him. He just needs to come home so we can continue his progress and give him a better life," said Mrs. Seig.
Seig said they felt they had nowhere else to turn so they've reached out to CPS, who told them to keep filing reports with Temple Police every time Clayton goes missing.
They hope their story will let other parents know they are not alone.