ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The 15-year-old girl whose marathon case of hiccups brought her worldwide attention this year ran away from home Monday but was found safe that night, her mother said.
Jennifer Mee's struggles with chronic hiccups — up to 50 times a minute for months — made her an Internet sensation and darling of morning television news shows, which aggressively fought to book the ninth-grader for interviews.
Jennifer Mee was found walking about two miles from her home at 9:30 p.m., about 14 hours after she was reported missing, said her mother, Rachel Robidoux.
"She had been at a friend's house at one point," Robidoux said. "She had also been walking the streets aimlessly, not knowing where to go."
Robidoux said she had not yet discussed with her daughter why she ran away.
"I think she just wants her freedom, and she has to realize there's going to be boundaries at that age," Robidoux said.
Robidoux said Jennifer had been upset after a disagreement with her stepfather over a MySpace.com account they didn't know about. They disconnected her cell phone service as punishment.
"She was upset, but nothing more than any other time she didn't get what she wanted," Robidoux said earlier Monday.
The hiccups, which stopped for awhile but then started again, forced her out of school. They have been only sporadic recently, her mother said.
Jennifer saw an infectious disease specialist, a neurologist, a chiropractor, a hypnotist and an acupuncturist about hiccups. She tried a patented device that is designed to stop hiccups, plus all the old remedies.