Hunter Young has some explaining to do.
His parents thankful that their son wasnt injured or worse rushed to eastern Idaho, where the 17-year-old was arrested Tuesday morning. Thats how he was found, said Hunters father, David Young.
An Idaho Falls police spokeswoman confirmed that a Boise teen was picked up for petit theft. He was detained by Walmart employees after allegedly trying to steal gloves, fire starter and other items. He was in juvenile detention, with an arraignment set for 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Hunter Young was cold, desperate, hungry and broke when he went to the Walmart, a family friend said.
The boy went missing Saturday after he failed to show up for an 8 a.m. hunting trip with family members in Emmett.
Youngs parents called his cellphone repeatedly Saturday after he disappeared; someone eventually answered at a Circle K convenience store in Connell, Wash., a small town about 45 minutes north of Tri-Cities.
Hunters father, David Young, traveled to Connell to look at store video. He saw his son enter and exit the store, leaving the phone behind, possibly intentionally. I have no idea why he would run away, said David Young.
The father did say that Hunter has some unresolved personal issues that could have contributed to his decision making.
Hunter is the leading scorer on the Capital High basketball team and a good student, his father said. But he tends to keep problems to himself.
Hunters cellphone had a map to Priest Lake on it, so David Young traveled to North Idaho looking for clues to Hunters whereabouts. The dad sounded both relieved and confused about the ordeal Tuesday afternoon, and said he had not slept much since Saturday.
The thing about him is that hes a fantastic kid, David Young said. We will sit down and talk.
Situations in which children particular teenagers take off, leaving their parents to worry and wonder, are not as uncommon as people might think. Boise typically has several such instances each week, police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said.
In 2012, 266 runaways were reported to the Boise Police Department down from 334 in 2011. In most cases, the children are located within hours or days.
The majority of cases involve older teenagers, Hightower said. Many run away after arguing with parents, leaving a note or other clue that theyve taken off.
Few runaway cases hit the media, but all of them are posted to the National Crime Information Computer and are posted online at the Idaho State Polices Missing Persons Clearinghouse.
Runaways are vulnerable. You could make the argument that they are all in danger, Hightower said.
Police alert media when there is some extraordinary concern if the child is very young, if the child might have been lured away by a predator, or if the child needs medication.
Every case is looked at, every case is evaluated, Hightower said. In almost every case, the family wants it broadcast all over the news.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413