Harrison County

Biloxi teen missing 18 days is found safe

Justin Looney
Justin Looney

BILOXI -- A 15-year-old Biloxi High School student missing since May 2 has been found in Clarke County, about 150 miles from his home.

Justin Looney had been missing 18 days.

"I'm so happy," Carolyn Mixon said. "I'm ecstatic."

Mixon is his grandmother and guardian and has raised him most of his life.

He was found about 8 a.m. Thursday. Mixon drove to the Clarke County jail in Quitman to pick him up. She said she planned to turn him over to Harrison County Youth Court.

No charges have been filed against him.

It wasn't immediately clear if criminal charges will be filed against the person who drove him to Clarke County or the people with whom he was staying.

Mixon said she doesn't believe Justin knew them.

"I'm just glad he's been found safe and we can get help for whatever caused him to do this," Mixon said.

A mysterious note

Mixon told the Sun Herald she woke up about 5 a.m. May 2 and found a note in the family's computer chair.

She said the note read, "Don't call the police. I'm okay. Don't look for me. I love y'all."

Mixon said she had seen him the night before, when she woke up about 11 p.m. and found him at the computer. She said she told him to go to bed.

Mixon's son Wesley Mixon also lives with them at Biloxi Shore Apartments on Eisenhower Drive.

She filed a missing-person report with the Biloxi Police Department.

Justin was not believed to be in danger but it was a welfare concern because of his age, an investigator said.

Justin had been seen at the apartment complex after he was reported missing and it appeared he was helping a woman move out of her apartment, Wesley Mixon said.

The have said they believe Justin left town with the woman, who is not related to them.

Runaway laws

In Mississippi, it's not illegal to run away from home, but it's a federal offense if an adult takes a child across state lines without a guardian's permission.

State law allows youth court judges to declare a runaway a child in need of supervision. The law requires mental-health treatment or counseling or even placement in a public or private child-care facility.

It is against the law to help a child run away from home, contribute to their delinquency or harbor them or conceal their whereabouts.

Mixon said she was told the people with whom Justin was staying denied he was there when law enforcement officers first went to the home.

To give a tip

Anyone with information about how Justin disappeared can call Biloxi police at 392-0641 or the Criminal Investigations Division at 435-6112.

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