Thursday Dec 22 2011
Runaway's return follows Colfax family's Facebook campaign
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Facebook campaign aids efforts to locate Colfax High School junior
AUBURN CA - A Colfax family’s efforts to bring their runaway daughter back home have been rewarded. Jason Russell said he learned late Wednesday that his 16-year-old daughter was at the Sacramento rail station and he was able to reunite with her there and bring her home later in the day. Russell said his daughter had been sent on a Greyhound by male companions she had been with. The family’s efforts not to give up on his runaway daughter included establishing a Facebook page and distributing posters. The girl – Colfax High School junior Ashley Russell – had left home Dec. 9 and had no communication with family members or law-enforcement investigators looking for her over the next 13 days. The teen had reportedly been in the Lake Tahoe area. The bus ride took her to Sacramento’s Old Town area. Russell drove down to pick her up. “She was in Sacramento and didn’t know what to do,” Russell said. Russell said his daughter had dyed her hair and her companions had kept her from using Facebook during her absence. The Facebook site Find Ashley Russell established by the family provided potential leads during a stressful time by expanding its network of support through the internet, Jason Russell said. “I’m a super-protective dad so it was awesome to finally know she was finally out of harm’s way,” Russell said. During her time as a runaway, Ashley joined the 1.3 million homeless and runaway youths who live on the streets every year, according to the National Runaway Switchboard. The non-profit estimates 75 percent of runaways are females. The organization, which provides assistance in locating runaways, estimates one out of every seven children will run away before the age of 18. The annual count for deaths from illness, assault or suicide among the homeless and runaways is an estimated 5,000.