It’s been nearly two weeks since a New Jersey teenager ran away from his visiting parents during a day out from a Utah residential youth treatment program.
But his father and mother, Greg and Debbie Mayer, of Basking Ridge, N.J., remain hopeful that 17-year-old Gregory Mayer may still be somewhere in the Utah area, perhaps one of the many young faces of urban homeless street kids, or trying to hitchhike or otherwise find his way home.
They acknowledge that since the teen ran from them during a Feb. 21 outing to see a movie at the Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theaters at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, the trail has grown cold.
A teen matching Gregory’s description was seen by a security guard at a Lehi factory outlet mall the same day the teen fled. On Feb. 23, he also may have been seen on downtown Salt Lake City’s Temple Square and inside a nearby homeless shelter.
Since then, there has been no trace of his whereabouts. He had no money, no identification and — making efforts to trace his travels or contact him even harder — no cell phone.
The teen may be trying to make his away back to New Jersey, but the Mayers can only speculate at this point.
Gregory, described as 5-foot-10, 140 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes, had been enrolled at the Discovery Ranch in Mapleton, a program for youths with behavioral and learning disabilities. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a navy blue sweater, muddy boots and no jacket.
“We had flown out from New Jersey to visit with him. Since he had been doing very well, we were able to take him out for the day, and never expected him to want to leave,” says Greg Mayer, the boy’s father. “We are concerned for his safety.”
The Lehi Police Department recently issued an appeal to the public to be on the lookout for the teen. Anyone with information can call police at 801-768-7110, or the Mayer family at 201-805-3867 or email them at email@example.com. A web page also has been set up at http://www.FindGregoryMayer.com.