Parents urged to take action to recover, prevent runaways - - Columbia, South Carolina

Parents urged to take action to recover, prevent runaways


Kidnappings, abductions, and missing persons can draw a lot of media attention.

Most times, these people are taken against their will. However, runaways are different. Runaways don't usually get the same media attention, but police still actively work these cases.

In Columbia, runaways are considered to be children 16 or younger who leave on their own. Because of their age, they are considered to be at risk.

That's something that worries Anastacia Pillot. It's been over a month since she last saw her 13-year-old daughter. Pillot says her daughter began running away last year for a day or two at a time.

"All I want is for us to work things out to where this can stop," Pillot said. "I can't take it, not knowing where she's at."

This year alone, her daughter has run away six times.

"It's hurting my heart and if she could just listen and hear me out," Pillot said. "Just sit down and talk to me. That's all I want is for her to talk to me and communicate with me to find out what is bothering her."

Each time the teenager leaves, Pillot calls the police. Pillot admits that she and her daughter do have differences. Lately, the teenager has been angry and Pillot doesn't know why.

"One of the biggest reasons that occurs is the communication between the child and parent," Sgt. Arthur Thomas of the Columbia Police Department said. "Some type of animosity normally at the teenage stage starts  to build within the household. They are no longer communicating and/or they start affiliating with other (groups), gangs, older children.

"They get a boyfriend or girlfriend and build this relationship and that kind of separates them from rules and regulation from the parent."

Investigators recently found Pillot's daughter safe and sound. However, there are many children who are still on the run.

There are some misconceptions that a person or family should wait 24 hours before reporting a runaway or missing person. Sgt. Thomas said it should be reported as soon as your child is not where he or she should be.

In fact, investigators want all parents to know that they should always have a recent photo of the child, know about their life, their friends, associates, and significant others. Parents are urged to be a part of their child's life.

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