Community Helps Find Runaway - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Community Helps Find Runaway

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YAKIMA--A 13 year-old runaway was returned to his family today, thanks to the efforts of the local community.  Cody Payne had been missing since Monday evening.  You may have seen pictures of Cody if you were out in Selah or Yakima, or even if you were just checking your e-mail.

When Jerry Payne, Cody's dad, told his insurance agent that Cody was missing, she got to work, sending e-mail to people all over.

"I spread it to everybody I could think of it that was within two hours of here," Tammy Allan of Allan Insurance said.

And spread it did.

"It is amazing the response I'm getting [from the] community," Jerry Payne said.  "I never thought it'd happen.  The phone's been ringing 24-7 with people calling that I don't even know."

Cody's family learned he had not been kidnapped when someone found his Myspace account had been active.  It was a relief, but people were still worried.

"It's really hard to concentrate on your job when you're worried about a youngster out on the street somewhere," Betty Hames said.

Betty Hames works at the Community Resource Group.  They work with foster kids and deal with runaways about once a month.   She says kids who run away need to realize that people care about them.

"We're always wanting to help people find the kids," Hames said.  "They have a lot of people looking for them who love them and want them home."

Despite all the help, they couldn't find cody.   That changed shortly before noon today when a police officer picked Cody up and brought him home.   Everyone's hard work paid off.

"I am so grateful that he's been found and he's home" Hames said.