Runaway teens return home
October 10, 2003
MANNHEIM, Germany — After spending three cold nights outdoors, two missing 13-year-olds were returned to their families Thursday, after being spotted by a German woman at a shopping center.
The teens, Bryan Enochs and Reagan Womble, went missing Monday from Benjamin Franklin Village. They were found Thursday morning at the Kurpfalz Centrum in Leimen, a Heidelberg suburb, according to Joerg Hofer, a Heidelberg police spokesman.
“The teenagers have been reunited with their parents,” said Christine Gebhard, a spokeswoman for the 293rd Base Support Battalion. “We are so glad they are home safe. They appeared in good health. They were tired, but other than that they were unharmed.”
German police said the couple’s odyssey began when Bryan arrived home late and feared punishment. The two fled together, spending Monday night under a bridge in Mannheim, police said.
The weather in the Rhein-Neckar region dipped into the mid-30s each night, and there were strong winds and rain, according to the Air Forces Europe Operational Weather Squadron at Sembach Air Base.
On Tuesday, they took a streetcar to Heidelberg and spent the night in its downtown shopping district. On Wednesday they crossed the Neckar River into Handshuhsheim, where they slept in the ruins of a castle, Hofer said.
On Thursday, the two took a streetcar south, hoping to reach Patrick Henry Village, police said. They ended up in the Kurpfalz Centrum, where a woman saw the pair, dirty and exhausted, and recognized them from local press reports, Hofer said. She took them to her office, offered them something to drink, and called the police.
Military police had scoured bases in Mannheim on Wednesday, with help from 160 soldiers from the 5th Signal Command, the unit in which the teens’ parents serve.
About 50 German police joined the search in Mannheim.
“We send our heartfelt appreciation to the German and American communities for all their efforts,” said Reagan’s father, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Womble.