WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police have found a mentally ill teen who ran away from his therapeutic foster home in Navassa last week.
The boy’s mother credits the Brigade Boys & Girls Club for helping him survive and media exposure for helping find him.
“My son is alive and well due to WWAY for putting it out there so far for me,” Tammie Hansley said.
She says she got a call from Navassa Police Thursday night saying Wilmington Police had a teen in custody that matched the description of her 15-year-old son Antonio.
“Three and a half hours later I got the phone call from Det. (Scott) Perez that it was my son,” she said.
Tammie says her son told her a boy he went to school with saw him walking near Holly Tree Road in Wilmington.
“‘Antonio is that you?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Don’t you know that you’ve been all over the news, and in the newspaper?’ Antonio said yes,” Tammie said. “The parents turned and started questioning their son, so they immediately called 911.”
Navassa Police say Hansley had been going to the Brigade Boys & Girls Club during the day to eat and stay cool and Wade Park at night to sleep.
“He told me he went from 12:30 til the next morning without food every day, and it was pretty rough on him,” Tammie said. “And so I think without this place here, if he didn’t have this place to come to, we probably wouldn’t have found him in the condition he was in.”
Brigade Boys and Girls Club Chief Professional Officer Jeff Green says Hansley was registered for the club just one day before he went missing.
“On the days he was here, he was able to come in, get a nice nutritious breakfast, get a lunch, have a safe place where he could be,” Green said.
The club did not know he had run away from home, but Green says he is glad to have helped Hansley make it through this rough time.
“That’s why we open it up to all the kids we can, because often times we never know the impact we’re having, so to hear that maybe we did something really good for this kids is great,” Green said.
Not all the news on Antonio is good, though. Tammie says her son is in a juvenile detention center facing charges in connection with a car arson and a breaking and entering at a church.
Mom is just glad to know he is OK.