Runaway Teens- A Growing Problem

When school is out --police departments tend to see an increase in calls about runaway teens.

It's a growing problem here in the valley.

Norma Breton's 14-year-old son Jonathan Mata has been missing since Friday afternoon.

"If someone has them in their house, he does not have permission. He is a minor. He is only 14 years old and we are worried where he is, Breton said. We don't want anything bad to happen to him.

When a neighbor told Breton they saw Jonathan Monday evening she said she was relieved.It was believed he could be heading back to Honduras.

"He said he wanted to go with his grandma in Honduras. He didn't like it here, Breton said. That's why I think he left.

Edinburg Police Dept. Lt. Oscar Trevino says runaway teens are reported on a daily basis, but the reasons for which they run vary.

These kids are either having problems at home, or they want to go with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or are hanging out with the wrong crowd, Trevino said.

To help in the search for her son Breton filed a report with McAllen Police Dept. and made missing fliers to hang up around the area.

Trevino says there is a lot parents can do to help runaway teens.

"Once a child runs away the best thing they can do to assist us is go through their bedrooms and see what information they can find, any notes, any love letters, or make a list of friends phone numbers, Trevino said.

There are tough consequences for runaways and those who harbor them.

If a minor runs away a third time they can be reported to the juvenile probation department and can face a judge.

"If you are harboring a runaway it is a criminal offense and our department is known to press charges for the offense, Trevino said.

Trevino says the best advice he has is to have open communication with your teens.

If you have heard or seen Jonathan call your local police department.