Thirteen-year-old Jessie Lynn Vickers apparently ran away Friday night, possibly with a 23-year-old man. Newschannel 7's Alana Adams has the latest on the search and how you can prevent the same thing happening to your family.
The last time that Donna Vickers saw Jessie, she was on her way to the mall with friends just like so many other teenagers.
"I talked to her the last time at 15 minutes till 10 and she said she'd be home by 12. I have not talked to her or seen her since."
Jessie's parents found notes about her leaving with an older boy, someone she'd recently met.
Cheryl Hampton, a guidance counselor at Merritt Brown Middle School, says it is not uncommon for teenage girls to be easily influenced by older kids or young adults. She says if you're concerned about your child running away, approach the subject before it actually happens.
"Provide open communication and talk about their concerns and talk about the child's behavior and try to get the child to open up."
Hampton says it's important to pay attention to the warning signs: slipping grades, hanging out with the wrong crowd.
"If they've reached a point where they can't get anywhere with their child, they just feel like it’s gotten out of their control, seek some help from professionals."
The Vicker’s are getting help now from the Cedar Grove Police Department who is in charge of the investigation.
Because it appears Jessie left on her own, they cannot issue an Amber Alert, but they do ask if anyone has information about 23-year-old Jason Derrick Smith of Alabama to contact them because he is wanted for questioning in connection with their investigation.
"We love her so much, we just want her back home."