CLARE (WWJ) – A private investigator has joined the search for two young star-crossed lovers who went missing after their parents expressed concerns about their six-month relationship.
Thirteen-year-old Jayden Thomas, of Clare, and 14-year-old Braxton Wood, of Mt. Pleasant, have been missing for over a week, leaving behind no clues as to where they could be.
The high school freshmen took off in the middle of the night on Aug. 26 and haven’t been heard from since. Investigators believe Braxton took his family’s black Ford Explorer — license plate number “BCQ4820” — and skipped town with Jayden.
Kelly Drinkwine said the only trace her daughter left behind was a note written in lipstick on a mirror.
“She wrote ‘I love you so much. Stay happy and beautiful.’ So, I know she loves me,” Drinkwine told ABC’s Good Morning America, holding back tears.
Before the teens disappeared, Drinkwine said she told her daughter that her budding romance with Braxton had become way too serious.
“She said that she couldn’t live without Braxton and that’s when I felt that I had to not necessarily completely pull the plug on their relationship, but try and bring my daughter back to reality,” she said.
Sarah Kiley, Braxton’s mother, also told Good Morning America that she shared similar concerns about the young couple’s relationship.
“They didn’t want to do anything but be together. They didn’t want to hang out with friends, their focus was each other. I mean, that’s pretty intense for a 14-year-old,” Kiley said.
The teens were both due to start their freshmen year at different high schools this week, and their parents thought the teens had decided to take a break.
“Braxton told us he was heartbroken. We thought that they had cooled it. We thought they were not seeing each other anymore,” Kiley said.
But the young couple apparently couldn’t stand to be apart. Drinkwine said hours before her daughter went missing, she put her foot down.
“The day that she left, I said I no longer support this relationship,” she said.
According to police, the black Ford Explorer the teens took was spotted near the Mackinac Bridge last Friday. Investigators early on were able to track pings from the teens’ cell phones, which indicate that they have been in and out of Isabella County, but think the phones have since been shut off.
The teens reportedly only had about $80 between them and a half-tank of gas when they vanished. Assuming what little money they had has run out, their families are now worried the teens could be in danger.
“Our worst fear is that they’ll approach somebody, the wrong somebody,” Kiley said.
Private Investigator Mike Cook, who is working the case, said because the teens are considered runaways and not abductions, it’s much harder to get help from law enforcement.
Family members say they don’t care why the teens left anymore, they just want them to return home, safe and sound.
Jayden is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall and about 120 lbs. with blonde hair and hazel/blue eyes. Braxton is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, about 125 lbs. with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information on Jayden and Braxton’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department at 989-772-5911 or call 911.