Missing teens found near Chicago after 2-week search
By Pat Maurer
Missing teens Braxton Wood, 14, of Mt. Pleasant, and Jayden Thomas, 13, of Clare, were found safe and unharmed in a parking lot in Wrigley, near Chicago last Sunday, according to a release from the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department.
The search for the two Isabella County youngsters, who ran away from home August 26 in Braxton’s mother’s Ford Explorer, made national news as police in several states searched for the two.
The two became runaways after their parents attempted to end a relationship between the two it was reported.
Officers from the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department first believed the teens were headed for Florida and sheriff’s investigators put a pickup order in the Law Enforcement Information Network nationwide, and the Center for Investigative Services joined in.
But police renewed the search locally when the vehicle was spotted by a Homeland Security camera headed south on the Mackinaw Bridge August 29.
A search warrant served on the teen’s cell phone providers for the locations of the teens showed they had been back in the area, but the two still managed to elude officers.
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said the search ended Sunday morning when a resident of the Wrigley Field area spotted a teen he thought was Braxton Sunday and saw him getting into a vehicle that matched the missing SUV with Michigan license plates. He contacted Chicago police who found the two teens in the vehicle in a parking lot near Wrigley Field.
Their vehicle was reportedly out of gas and had a dead battery. Officers said the rear window had been broken out.
They were taken into custody and later released into their parents’ custody, then petitioned into Isabella County Probate Court as runaways. The hearing was held Monday at 11 a.m.
The Morning Sun reported that Isabella County Juvenile Court Judge William Ervin ordered the teens not see each other.
Braxton’s mother Sarah Kiley, who is a psychiatric nurse at MidMichigan Medical Center – Gratiot, contacted the judge just hours later after Braxton reportedly became despondent about the separation. The judge immediately ordered a psychiatric evaluation.