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'A runaway is still missing' | National Runaway Prevention Month

The Amber Alert Network Brazos Valley says runaway children are still missing children and should be treated as such.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — After the Walker County Sherriff's Office identified the victim in the 41-year-old "Walker County Jane Doe" case, the Amber Alert Network Brazos Valley said they want people to think of runaways as missing people, especially during November for National Runaway Prevention Month.

Just because a child or a young adult runs away voluntarily, they can still face the dangers of being alone in the world.

"They're more likely to become a victim of criminal victimization, more likely to be exposed to drug or alcohol abuse and their education can suffer," Executive Director of the Amber Alert Network Brazos Valley Chuck Fleeger said. "They have a high risk of entering the criminal justice system at a very young age for a minor offense and that can drastically impact the rest of their life." Fleeger continued.

Fleeger said it is important to realize the risk children face when they run away and we must do everything we can to bring them home as quickly as we can and as safely as we can.

"It's just critically important that people understand the risk factors when kids leave home voluntarily," Fleeger said, "they are at risk and they are still missing."

It may have taken more than 40 years to find the identity of the 14-year-old runaway victim in Walker County, but Fleeger said at least her family knows what happened.

"They at least know a portion of the truth and they can use that as they continue to live their life in the light of this new information," Fleeger said.