NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The two teens who ran away on Monday morning, Ana Menjivar and Isaiah Pompey, were found in a Philadelphia parking garage last night and returned to their parents by police. Both are home and sleeping in their beds.
“You don’t know, the fact that my son is OK is such a relief,” said Linda Pompey. “I can’t believe he’s home, I can’t believe he’s in his room sleeping right now.”
“I found my daughter and both kids are ok and home,” said Rosa Espinola, Ana’s mother. “I want to thank everyone very much from the bottom of my heart for all their help, and especially the North Plainfield police department.”
Ana and Isaiah left Monday morning with $100 in their pockets and no cell phones, and traveled to New York City. According to Pompey, they did not enjoy New York, finding it loud and dirty and not just a little scary and so decided in the middle of the week to travel to Philadelphia.
“We really didn’t sleep, we just walked around,” Linda Pompey reported Isaiah said to her. “The daytimes were fine, but the night times were rough.”
Isaiah messaged his mother in the afternoon Saturday using Facebook from a library in Philadelphia, saying that they were OK and then signing off. Pompey felt that he was going to call, and her faith paid off when he called a couple hours later.
“Isaiah called me last night around 7:45 from a pay phone and the number was in the 215 area code,” said Pompey. “So I knew he was in Philadelphia.”
Pompey paid for an online service to track down the phone line, and identified the location of the pay phone. She has a friend who lives in the area, and called her. Pompey says she was told that the area was not safe after dark, and that if she could contact them she needed to tell the kids to move on.
However, before anything could be done to find them they had left and gone to a parking garage for cover. A security guard saw them as he was doing his closing rounds, and recommended that they seek a local homeless shelter. However, when he asked their ages and found out they were minors he contacted the Philadelphia police instead.
North Plainfield police had placed Ana and Isaiah in the National Crime Information Center database on Monday after their departure was discovered, and when Philadelphia police ran their names in the system it came up that they were runaways.
At about 10:30 p.m. Pompey got the call from the Philly police that her son and Ana were found, and that they could drive down and get them as soon as possible. Both Pompey and Rosa travelled down to Philadelphia to get their children, then returned home around 2 a.m.
"My husband, son and I drove down together last night," said Espinola. "Now we have to look forward, work together to see what's going to happen."
“The first thing Isaiah did was go to his room and get his iPod and start listening to music,” said Pompey. “He looks good, healthy, but a little like a homeless person.”
Pompey believes that the teenagers were going to be coming home soon anyway, as they had only a hundred dollars to start and were down to just about a dollar.
“They were going into businesses that had peanuts in bowls and eating them,” said Pompey.
The teens said they had job interviews at a Dunkin Donuts in Philadelphia the next day, and were going to try to raise enough money to travel to Washington DC next.
The children told their parents that they ran away because they were afraid that Pompey and Espinola were going to break them up and forbid them to see each other. Pompey says that she never intended to do so, and still expects the teens to be a couple.
“I would never do that, because I certainly don’t want them to run away again,” said Pompey.