Two teenagers from Myers Park High School, missing for three days in Charlotte, were found Monday afternoon, according to their parents.
The 17-year-olds — Adam Rahrig and Journey Young — had turned their phones off in an attempt to go untracked and “off the grid,” their parents said. They were located near Carowinds around noon, with no injuries. They had been sleeping in a tent.
Journey didn’t come home Friday night after hanging out with some friends in a home in South Charlotte, her parents said. Adam had left a note for his parents saying he loved them and he was sorry but he was leaving.
Adam has struggled recently to stay focused in school and has been in grief counseling since a close friend killed himself last year, his parents said.
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Journey, too, has had academic difficulty, her parents said.
Both sets of parents said they suspect the teenagers were overwhelmed or felt stressed. But, they seemed to be in better mental health lately than over the past several months.
For that reason, their disappearance surprised their friends and family.
Monday morning, Journey’s mother Kendall Shaw described her daughter as intelligent, fun and caring. Although she’s had a history of depression, counseling has helped.
“There have been times, periodically, she’s said she felt like a burden ... She's not a burden. I just want her home,” Shaw said, just hours before her daughter was found.
Before they were found, the parents had tried to get word to their teens that they wouldn’t be in trouble but needed to come home.
“We want them to know we’re not upset,” said Jeff Rahrig.
“We'll help them with anything that we can,” said Christine Williamson, Adam’s mother.
Shaw said teens from various high schools in the area used SnapChat, Instagram and other social media sites to get messages through to Adam and Journey.
Jeff Maynard, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer, is Shaw’s ex-husband who shares custody of Journey. She was staying with him Friday night and was supposed to be there for the weekend, until she went missing. The last they had heard from Journey was a text to Maynard on Friday, just before 11 p.m., saying she’d be home soon.
CMPD has missing persons detectives who follow up on leads like teenagers who runaway, Maynard said Monday morning.
“They are just gone because they want to be gone,” he said. “But there are so many people that are called in as ‘missing’ ... 99 percent of them show back up.”