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Teen runaway hides out in Texas Walmart for days

By Steve Almasy and Suzanne Presto, CNN
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Boy was missing for 54 hours when the Walmart called
  • An associate had seen him coming out from his hideout behind a wall of boxes
  • Walmart won't press charges, spokesman says
  • The 14-year-old was visiting his aunt, is known to run away often

(CNN) -- There in the baby section, behind boxes of strollers, was a 14-year-old boy with a secret.

The runaway had made the 24-hour Walmart in Corsicana, Texas, his getaway hideout.

For what may have been more than two days in July, he roamed the store unnoticed. When he was tired, he'd lie down in his hidden cubby and sleep while shoppers were unaware the runaway was back there.

Police had been looking for the boy, who was visiting his aunt in the town about an hour's drive south of Dallas, for 54 hours when they got a call from a Walmart. An employee had spotted the lad on the lam coming out of his hiding place.

Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told CNN the chain cannot verify how long the boy was in the store but said this is definitely an isolated incident.

"It seems to be a unique situation, for sure," he said.

Nick said Walmart hasn't asked for police to press charges.

"Our concern was getting the child to safety," he added.

CNN affiliate KTVT obtained pictures of the child's hideaways, one showing a makeshift bed between stacks of boxes. The station reported the youth appeared to have changed clothes several times, stashed away supplies and had even taken a fish from the pet department.

Police said the boy's mother told them he had run away several times before. In those cases, he had fled to abandoned houses, other businesses or creeks.

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