Sheriff: Five juveniles run away from treatment facility

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PINSON, Tenn. — With below freezing temperatures local authorities make a plea for help in finding two young runaways. Officials at Youth Town, a residential drug treatment facility in Pinson, confirmed five boys ran away Sunday night. As of Monday, three have been found. Madison County Sheriff John Mehr said two of the boys were found Monday night all the way in Crockett County. Sheriff Mehr said one of the boys told his dad they were planning to steal a car and head to Texas. “It’s just kind of unusual that you would have five at one time that would take off,” Mehr said. Sheriff Mehr said shortly after deputies were called to the drug treatment facility one of the boys was found. “Our thing is to find them try to get them picked back up before something happens to them or they get desperate and try to do something to somebody else,” Mehr said. Youth Town’s executive director Dr. Pepper Pratt would not speak on camera, but sent WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News a statement saying in part, “Youth Town does not serve violent offenders. Our facility is secured by staff and alarm. While it is rare, elopement from treatment facilities is sometimes a part of caring for more challenging youth in spite of responsible and professional efforts to prevent this action.” As of Monday night investigators need help finding Braxton Watkins of Jackson and Justin Miller of Munford. A man who lives nearby said when he heard a commotion he suspected it was due to Youth Town. “My son called me this morning. He left early. He said, ‘you hear anything going on?’ and I said ‘I heard the helicopters last night going around over and over,” Leo Davis said. Sheriff Mehr said our extremely cold temperatures adds extra pressure to find Watkins and Miller. “They had to be somewhere last night. They had to find shelter to stay in because it was real cold.” Sheriff Mehr is asking anyone with information as to the boys whereabouts to call the Madison County Sheriff’s Department at (731) 423-6000.

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