COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two 13-year-old boys stole a parent's car in Ohio and drove it hundreds of miles to Kansas City, Mo., where they were found sleeping in it in a downtown alley on Monday, police said.
The runaways, from the Columbus area, were taken into custody by officers investigating a suspicious vehicle that matched the description of the BMW taken early Saturday from the mother of one of the boys, Kansas City police said.
Police there had known the boys might pass through the area because of information posted to Facebook, Capt. Steve Young said.
"They were fine, fortunately," Young said. "I think there are definitely a whole lot of things that could have gone wrong for them, and having the police find them probably would be one of the better outcomes."
Catherine Johnson said her son Cole had wanted to go to California and she believes that's where he and Raheem Harris were headed. Johnson said she was surprised that the boys took off in her vehicle — for a trip that likely amounted to more than 650 miles — but was relieved to learn they were safe.
"How it went on for two days and no one noticed boggles my mind," Johnson said Monday by phone from Chicago as she waited for a flight to Kansas City to retrieve the boys, who had been turned over to the Jackson County Family Court.
Johnson said authorities told her the boys would not be charged in Kansas City. The car was towed.
Johnson said she has submitted a complaint over how Columbus police initially handled the case because she believes they took hours too long to get it filed and alert other authorities.
A Columbus police spokesman said he was unable to confirm late Monday that a complaint had been filed, but he defended the handling of the case and said officers followed the typical steps for dealing with such cases. Those steps take time, he said, noting that information about the missing car was entered into a records database within about three hours of when the report was received.
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