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          Family Of Teen Who Ran Away Comes To Terms With Why She Says She Needed To Leave Family

          January 8, 2016

          On November 8, a 15-year-old girl who had been missing for 23 days was found 700 miles away from her home, allegedly being held against her will in the home of a 41-year-old man she met online. She recently shared her story in an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil. Hear her account of what she says happened the night she left with the alleged predator.

          During the interview, the teen confided some of the reasons why she says she ran away, including having an inappropriate relationship with her mother’s fiancé’s son, the suicide of her stepfather and the sudden death of her boyfriend.

          The teen said another contributing factor was moving into her mother's fiancé's home just a few days after her stepfather committed suicide. She says it seemed too quick and made her question whether that relationship had been going on behind her stepfather’s back.

          The teen's mom, Linda, and Linda’s fiancé, Britt, say there were shocked and devastated by the traumatic details of the teen’s account of what she says happened when she disappeared. They say they were also surprised to learn why the teen said she felt she had to run away. In the video above, Linda and Britt respond to the teen wondering whether they might have had a relationship before her stepfather died.

          “They weren’t together,” Britt says, referring to Linda and her ex. He adds that he helped the family in any way he could after the death, including bringing them into his home. “I thought this was supposed to be about the search and bringing her home,” he says to Dr. Phil, pointing out the extreme lengths he went to find the teen when she was missing. “If this is going to be about going back and blaming me for suicide, we can just go ahead and end this now.”

          Dr. Phil asks Britt to look at the situation from the teen’s point of view. “You’ve got a 15-year-old girl that, perhaps, for the first time, is giving her feelings a voice. And if those feelings, however misguided they might be, step on your toes and need to be clarified, it seems to me that’s a small price to pay to give her a chance at a new lease on her young life,” he says. “It seems to me that if she’s accusing you as a couple, in her mind, of being inappropriate, or untimely, or in some way bothersome to her, she is entitled to those feelings. She can own those feelings. Whether they’re right or wrong. Just like she’s blaming herself for his death. Is that right? No. Her feelings about this may not be right either, but she’s entitled to them, and the first time she finds the courage to give a voice to it, you blow up and say, ‘Everybody, pack up, we’re leaving’? What the hell kind of response is that?”

          See what happens that causes Britt and Linda to walk off stage. Watch more here.


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        • For Parents: How Well Do You Know Your Teen?
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