|Updated: 2/22/2012 5:59 pm
||Published: 2/21/2012 3:03 pm
Update: Benton police report that Katelyn North returned to her home Wednesday, safe and unharmed.
BENTON, AR – The Benton Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a runaway teenager.
According to police, 17-year-old Katelyn North ran away last Thursday and has not been seen since.
She is described at being 5’8” tall, 135 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair.
North's parents notified the Benton Police Department, though, and by making that one call, parents of runaways are doing the number one thing police say they can do to make sure their child makes it home alive.
In Saline County, police have tracked down several runaway teens over the past few weeks.
"You need to call immediately so that we can start working the case because usually most kids, if they're gonna be found safe, it's usually within the first couple of hours," says Benton Police Lieutenant Kevin Russell.
North's parents gave police a picture from her Facebook page to help find her. In some cases, police use Facebook in a different way to find out where the teen ran off to.
"Law enforcement has actually taken over the profile of say a teenager and someone they've been communicating with, and that way it allows us to be able to take these people into custody before they're able to harm that child or someone else," says Russell.
Russell tells us most teens run away after fighting with their parents and most come home, but if you suspect your child is interacting with someone dangerous online, you need to pay attention to how they're acting around you.
"If they're always hiding in their room typing on their computer, they won't let you see their cell phone, when you come around, if they hide the screen when you come around, you need to look for some of these warning signs," says Russell.
Anyone with information on Katelyn’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Benton Police Department at 778-1171 or 315-TIPS. Individuals also may send an anonymous tip about his whereabouts to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text.