13-year-old Houston runaway returns home to tearful reunion

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by LARRY SEWARD

KHOU

Posted on September 9, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 9 at 9:02 PM

HOUSTON — A 13-year-old girl who ran away to Kentucky to see a boy she met playing Xbox 360 is home with family after a tearful reunion.

Just seeing her daughter roll up their street in a pickup truck caused Tressa Robinson to cry. It seemed mutual when her daughter Beth ran up for a long hug.

"Oh, I’m just so happy that she’s home, and we’ve always, always had a close relationship," Tressa Robinson said. "For her to jump out and run to me — that’s my baby. That’s my little girl. That’s the little girl I know. That’s my Beth."

"I broke into tears," Beth Robinson said. "They say it's 'home sweet home,' and it’s true."

"We (all) broke down," said Robbie Robinson, Beth’s father, who drove to find her shortly after discovering she was missing. "(I’m) just happy to be back home and have my whole family back together."

They were apart nearly three days. Beth ran away to see a 12-year-old boy named Dylan who lives in Hodgenville, Kentucky after meeting online through Xbox 360 Live. They played games together and chatted often. 

However, when Beth’s father intervened, she got mad. She took her brother’s car, her mom’s ATM card and drove as far as Nashville, Tennessee. There, a state highway patrol trooper, who was looking for the missing team because of a "be on the lookout" alert, stopped her on Interstate 40 at Exit 196. 

"(That trooper) is our hero," Tressa Robinson said. "Without him taking the initiative and getting out there and just sitting up on the highway knowing she was going to drive by (who knows). But, he was able to get her."

Once home, knowing things could easily be much different, Beth’s father could not hide his emotions, either.

"Hug your child," Robbie Robinson said. "Hug your kid every day. Tell them you love them. Talk to them. Ask them if there’s anything you can do. I have to start doing that more."

Beth Robinson plans to start doing more too.

"I love you, mom," she said while hugging her mother.

Seeing more than a dozen friends holding "Welcome Home" signs and neighbors waiting to hug her made Beth apologize and reach out to her parents like never before.

The Robinsons would like to get in contact with the trooper who stopped Beth in Nashville to thank him.

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