Tough love for teenage runaways

It was two days of agony for Michelle Munivez and her family as they desperately searched for her 14-year-old niece Heather Nichole Norcross.

The teen is a student at Harlingen High School and walks to and from school every day since she lives nearby.

However when Heather didn TMt make it home Tuesday evening, the family immediately went to police.

"That's not the child that she is Munivez said Thursday. That TMs not the way she was raised " she TMs not one to not want to be at home and she was raised properly, in a good environment to want to come home."

It's unclear why the teen ran away from home, but was located safe and unharmed late Thursday.

San Benito Asst. Chief of Police Michael Galvan said in some cases there are clear indicators that point to which children are more likely to run away.

"It TMs children that have a history with the department for either drug use, constantly truant, problems at home, Galvan said, those are the ones that usually we always deal with."

Galvan adds that under age children - that is anyone under 18 years old " cannot consent to leaving their home.

Parents can and should report their missing child to police as soon as it happens, Galvan said, and police will detain their child when they are found.

Galvan said parents need to be responsible and enforce tough love if necessary.

"Once you have them picked-up and (detained) for being a runaway, you're creating a file on that child, Glavan said, and you can even go to the court and ask the court for any kind of programs on how to deal with this, so it doesn't become an issue long term."