Website offers tips on how to run away from home

sequimSEQUIM, Wash. — Jonathan Chrysler from Sequim ran away from home Wednesday.

The 15-year-old told his parents he didn’t want to live under their roof and their rules. He took off with people he didn’t know — people he met through the website Runaway Guide. It gives a step-by-step explanation through the process of packing a bag and finding cheap room and board.

“I think it’s sickening. I can’t believe somebody would put something like that up (online) to help kids be able to do such a thing,” Jon Chrysler, Jonathan’s dad, said.

The website is written by a young man who ran away when he was 16. He glamorizes the homeless lifestyle and claims you can travel the world. In response to our coverage of the site, site author and travel blogger Leif, responds here.

Melinda Giovengo, executive director at YouthCare, said the streets are full of dangers for kids.

“The longer you’re out there, the more victimized you’re going to be, the more abused you’re going be, and the more desperate you’re going to get to figure out a way to survive,” she said.

Giovengo is upset a site like that even exists.

“You know, it actually makes me really sad, really sad, that someone would have this kind of information out there to lure young people out to the streets.”

The Chryslers want to get the word out to parents about the site, and they want their son to get this message.

“There’s nothing he can do or say that is going to make me love him any less, and (I ask) for him to please come home,” Jonathan’s mom, Tiffani, said.

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45 comments

  • Mary Crosbie

    I know that running away from home can seem like the best and maybe only way out when you’re a teenager. I wanted to run away from when I was 13 until I actually did move away at 18. I was being raped by a family member and no one believed me or would do anything about it. But I was actually smart enough to realize that if I ran away I would certainly end up in a worse situation. I knew I needed a way to provide for myself, so I toughed it out and finished school. It wasn’t easy, and I still almost ended up in trouble and pregnant because I looked to the wrong person for love and comfort. But to all you teens out there thinking about running away. Don’t do it. You will end up homeless, starving, on drugs, and prostituting yourself just to survive and then you’ll wish you’d never left but it’ll be too late. Whatever your troubles, talk to a school counselor, religious counselor, teacher, neighbor, doctor, anyone you trust. Someone will help you. My husband and I have taken in a number of young people and helped them. My children now help other young people. There is someone to listen to you and help you. Just don’t run away.

    • Kathleen

      Mary, that is so wonderful to hear. I'm so proud that you were able to keep a strong head and do what you did. I really admire your strength. I will be Praying for the young man and for this website to go down or for God to mask it so kids can't find it. Thank you for sharing your story of strength and courage to those that may see this.

    • Good grief

      Your story, Mary, is incredibly disturbing and pretty irrelevant. You stayed in an abusive and dangerous situation. I don't think you give off a very insightful or positive message. I am sorry for you and what happened to you. You should not have stayed in your home, you should have sought help and gotten the hell out. I do not advise any kid going through sexual abuse by a family member to stay home…and I hope you reconsider what you wrote

  • Donald

    If the little punk thinks the "Street Life" is the way to go then I'm sorry let him learn the hard way that life at home is not as bad as the Real World where it is glamorized to be perfect. When this kid does come home is parents should spank his ass and show him some discipline. My father and Mother showed us who was boss from an early age. We messed up we got the belt. My sister and I did not mess up cause we knew there would be a consequence to our actions. This is what these little brats don't have anymore is discipline. I feel for these parents, but they need to look at themselves for letting this kid get out of hand. I bet there is more to this story than what the parents are saying to the media. In any event this kid needs a good 'ol fashion ass whoopin'!!!!!!

    • C. Chrysler

      Donald: Jon Jr. comes from a very disciplined, Christian family and I am sorry to say that is not the issue. The issue is that our society today and especially other young children such as the guy who created the "Run Away Guide" makes it look so appealing and the older men that assist these young people in running away aren't helping any either. So as far as conseaquences he has experienced his fair share and his family does care, love and discipline him when and as needed. But thank you for your prayers, thoughts, comments and involvement in our situation. May God bless you and your family in all situations that may arise in your life.

      • MrJones

        Ever occur to you that, that may be the issue. Disciplined Christian family residing in the safety of their mundane suburban bubble? As a people, especially as teens, we have an innate curiosity of the world around us. Granted, I'm just speculating, but if it were me, I'd want to get out and see the world and all it's wonder – good and bad. In my eyes, stagnation is the worst fate that can become a person. Though, whatever the case may actually be, The Runaway Guide has very little to do with this scenario, except for maybe providing an honest point of view from the eyes of a genuinely good hearted and experienced individual. If in fact, adult men are helping Jon, I guarantee they in no way, shape, or form are affiliated with The Runaway Guide. Defaming a young entrepreneur and travel enthusiast because you need someone to blame is hugely irresponsible. I hope Jon is safe and having a great time, and I'm sorry he went about it in a way that hurt his family, but the only person to blame here, is him.

    • Iona

      Ronald any more this isn't always the reason that kids want to be independent. I agree that discipline seems to be a foreign word these days, but trouble isn't always due to that reason.
      Your comment took me back 30+ years when my child developed type 1 diabetes. I was told had I not let him eat so much sugar this would have never happened. What was wrong with that statement was that diabetes 1 has nothing to do with diet, diabetes 2 does. It was hard enough for us to deal with this with out meaness coming our way.

    • Trish

      well Donald they may have showed you discipline but they surely didn't teach you compassion, …..you don't know this childs situation or his reasons for leaving,and if you want to go there with the discpline conversation the state made it to where parents can not discipline their children the way we were disciplined…

  • Linn

    We became aware, some years ago, of a sort of "recruiting" that would go on by young adults who run panhandling crews for profit. In Seattle. We lost a boy we were adopting to one of these groups and spent a great deal of time on the streets of Seattle networking with others who'd escaped specific holders, with the police, and also local groups who try to help the kids. These holders will recruit the kids (often from the Westsound on the ferry, where it costs $ to return home), then they hold them for some days in an apartment while they – for real – inject them with heroin and repeatedly rape them. Boys, in our case. Then they turn the now-addicted and shamed boys out, downtown, with strict rules that they panhandle and EVERY dime goes to the holder, who wanders around keeping an eye on them. They actually beat and torture them if the kid spends a single dime on himself throughout the day (in our boy's case, with a length of tow chain the holder wore under his jacket). So, Donald, I don't think it's a case where the kid can "live and learn". It's pretty ugly out there.

  • Donald

    This kid sounds like he came from a good home. For some reason he thought that it would be better out of the home. If he thinks it is so much better out in the world instead of under his parents home then let him be untill he figures that out. This young generation thinks that it is so bad at home (many of them are undisciplined from their parents so they think they are adults and can do what they want). This is not true even as adults. The sooner that this kid learns this the better off he will be. For goodness sakes he is from Sequim. A retirement community of sorts. How hard can liofe be to obey a few rules that his parents set up? I don't feel sorry for this kid at all. He did this to himself. And any bad that comes up from it he needs to look at himself and not blame others for his behavior and choices he has made. I do hope this kid is okay out in the real world. But, like I said if he thinks the world is a better place than with a few rules set by his parents then let the kid learn the hard way

  • Linn

    I totally get what you're saying, Donald, but some lessons are permanent, so they are just wasted. This is potentially one of those. In our case, it was. The boy was destroyed. The drugs they injected him with never quit destroying his life, and the sexual abuse disconnected him emotionally to a degree that he never felt safe or bonded again, and ended up with a radically messed up life. It's like, "Let them go race their car on the highway and wreck. They'll learn, then." Those that survive, will. Maybe. This is one that needs a rescue, big time. It sounds like the lesson is already learned. Now it's up to the parents to save a kid that was in over his head, like any four year old is who wanders out onto a busy street corner all alone. I feel for them.

  • Dee

    I was raised in a very religious home, a household that had a very strict form of discipline. That would have been fine, but my father took it to the extreme. The "rod" of discipline is not meant to be taken as a literal translation. Sure, it did command respect, but it was out of fear, not out of love. I saw some horrific things happen to my older sisters that I wish I could erase. I loved my father dearly and still stayed close to him as 1 out of 4 daughters. I became his little "boy" he never had. That didn't change the fact that I saw the hypocrisy. We were being taught how God is love, that he is incapable of evil, yet our own father was beating us into submission and expecting us to respect it. I ended up leaving home at the age of 15 because of it, desperately looking for a safe place to land. Of course, I thought I found it in many, many places but, what ended up happening is I choose situations and men that were exactly like my father. This created a long and painful road for me. They say you can't blame your parents for what happens to you. However, in this case, when you're so young and impressionable, you don't have the reasoning capabilities to see the path you're taking until it's too late. Now, at the age of 41, I have finally stepped out of abusive relationships, for the first time. Look how long it took to learn those lessons myself. I wouldn't wish the hardships I've gone through on anyone and I would never blame a child, whatever that child's reason is, for leaving home. In spite of everything I went through, I ended up raising 2 extremely well-rounded children. This only resulted in giving them a new level of communication that I never had with my parents. So, in this case, my experiences allowed me to be a better mother, even when I was in deep trouble. I grew up in a small town as well, which actually makes it harder when you become a teen. In this case, it is a retirement community with not many positive resources for young people to turn to. Boredom sets in, which breeds thoughts of something more exciting, which feeds the need to believe that there has to be something better out there. It's so sad to see children take this path as I've been there myself. My parents did everything they could to bring me home but, at that time and that age, I couldn't see myself going back to a place where freedoms were taken away to the extreme and love was expressed through violence. What we need to remember, as parents, is that once a parent, always a parent. We will never stop worrying about our children. Our job is to be their safe place to land when they do make their mistakes and assist them in making better choices in their future. Yes, children do need to make their own mistakes. Hopefully this one will turn out to be a success story instead of a story of demise. I pray that the parents are strong and able to do what they can, and yet realistic enough to know when it's time to let go. I know I couldn't be forced to comply and I am really sorry for the pain I have put my parents through. Experience and only time will tell.

    • C. Chrysler

      Dee: Wonderful experience shared. Thank you and may you and your family be blessed in all that you do, even through the trials and tribulations of your lives. The "Chrysler Family".

  • C. Chrysler

    To everyone out there that is helping us with this situation, Thank you. May you all be blessed and may God grant you peace and love in your lives. Please continue to spread the word for Jon Jr. has not returned home yet and is being helped still by these older gentlemen. We have made revisions to our event page and will continue to keep everyone advised as we get new information and upon the safe return of our lost family member. The "Chrysler Family".

  • C. Chrysler

    TO Q13 FOX Staff, Management & Owner: Thank you for taking the time in helping us get the word out there about Jon Jr. and these creeps that are helping out these young people.
    You have truly been a blessing in disguise in our time of need. May you and all of your families be blessed in everything that comes your way and again THANK YOU for helping us! The "Chrysler Family".

  • Donald

    I don't mean to be mean. But you let your kid think he has control. Lot's of kids these days do. I pray for his safe return. I hope that you did not take my comments to offend you. I read your comments C. Chryler. I did not read that your son was tricked by others in the above article. It should have been. Yes, it mentioned a website that assists runaways. But mentioned nothing about older gentlemen. When your son returns, please give him the professional help he needs. There maybe something more wrong mentally than not wanting to live under your rules.

  • C. Chrysler

    Donald: No arguements. This is just to get the information out there further so as to track him down and bring him home. No offense taken. Thanks for the advice. Have a blessed day and may you never have to experience anything like this with anyone you know that is under age and not an adult, that is being assisted by adults. No further discussion with you will happen pertaining this article, your comments or anything else posted by you from the "Chrysler Family". May peace be in your heart and may you be blessed in all you do.

  • uwcharliet

    Coingratulations! The Chryslers wanted parents to be aware of the website, They not only succeeded at it, but also made an unknown number of school-age young people aware of the page!

  • C. Chrysler

    uwcharliet: No arguements. Sorry the other children have had to see it, but if the parents of another child is educated at the cost of ours running across the site. Then so be it. Spelling check: "Congratulations". FYI. Also, might want to do a puntuation check next time. If it was your child or you were the one running away due to a site like this, I am sure that your parents would have done as much as we have to help bring you home or you your child. So again apologies to those parents whose children have seen this site, but if we can prevent one family from going through the ordeal that we have been in for the past 4 days, then so be it.

  • concerned

    the runaway guide has like 100 new "likes" since earlier when I looked…..any publicity is good publicity. they will not shut it down. the guy is24 now… and travels, he will likely have his own show on the travel channel after all this publicity. I found this site over a year ago when i was researching homelessness….its more of a travel/ reality show than anything else…Im not sure how the site links to the black car with the paroles, guns and drugs….I hope the best for you all but it seems all this publicity would cause the criminals to change their plan if everyone knows they are coming to town??. What if you are causing more harm than good? Im pretty sure if the detectives knew they would advise you not to leak the info…. Guys with guns aren't someone to antagonize… it just doesnt seem to add up. sorry john and tiff I know you are worried sick. We hope the best for you and are praying for jon jr.

  • graybug

    i am very sorry for what you are going through. it reminds me of when i was a teenager and was very easily led to believe that i knew everything and that i could make it on my own. had it not been for my parents understanding and unconditional love, i would have wound up in a very bad spot. it is obvious that he is loved and i hope that he returns home safely. good luck, best wishes._-a concerned arkansan

  • Leif

    Hi everyone involved, I'm very sorry to hear this. I understand your anger and your pain. I was once a runaway myself. I suffered myriad pains during this time of my life. Not only that but I put my parents and friends through hell. And this is one of the reasons why I started my site.

    I wanted to create a medium by which I could ultimately dissuade kids from running away from home. If you read my guides, I illustrate the extent of my suffering. I discourage running away. I also provide and strongly encourage alternative means that they can travel, such as studying abroad in highschool/college or taking a gap year.

    I have a unique perspective and one that puts me in a position where I can actually help. I literally answer hundreds of e-mails a week. In them I try to understand their situation, give them strength, convince them that there will be plenty of time to travel in the future and ask them to wait until then. I always advise all kids under 18 who contact me specifically not to run away.

    Before you blindly accuse and use my site as a scapegoat, please take a minute to read some of it first. Please.
    http://www.runawayguide.com/runaway-travel-guides
    http://www.runawayguide.com/health-spirit/how-to-

    Then please compare it to what was previously available on the internet to kids who wanted to run away. http://www.wikihow.com/Run-Away-From-Home This guide hardly touches on the negative implications, yet it was an article that almost every kid who researched running away from home would find.

    Most people realize that my site and fb page is first a foremost a travel adventure blog. It is a place where I chronicle my travels. The title refers to figuratively running away. Most of my readers are backpackers and people who dream of traveling on a budget. Yes my site glorifies travel, but it does not glorify literally running away for teens.

    Understandably there will be some kids who will be inspired by my site, they will disregard my guides which asks them not to run away, and do so anyways. In this case, it was not my site or guides that planted the seed. They found my site because they felt so serious about leaving home that they went so far as to research it on the internet.

    As a result of my site, I am very confident that I have inspired many people to travel. I am also confident that I have prevented countless kids from running away, kids who would have gone if it weren't for my site.

    I'm sorry for this situation but I will not take responsibility for it. I will try and help though, not out of any sense of guilt but out of compassion.

    I have already e-mailed the kids who ran away and am waiting a response. I will do my best to convince him to return.

    Sincerely,
    Leif

    • Donald

      Does not matter. Your site is basically a guide to assist children to runaway from home. That's it. You are an asshole who has destroyed families. There is no good intent of what you have done to families and under aged children. Your a piece of shit. You may of had good intentions but adults that hook up with minors on this site don't have those good intentions. I hope you take this site down so others don't have to see your filth on the internet. I don't like you and I hope when this kids parents meet you they kick your ass for what you have encouraged. Your site targets kids that are not in their right mind at all. Shame on you. I hope you rot in hell.

      • Sick&Tired

        Seriously dude? Have you even LOOKED at this guy's site? Really read it? I hadn't heard of it until this case broke. This guy gives pros AND CONS of running away. He talks in depth about it. He says that his site is intended for people 18+ . Also as far as I can tell there is NO WAY that kid could have met up with anyone there or at this guy's FB page. Unless the site owner, Leif put the missing kid in touch with others, no way to meet people there. Also, why has no one ever asked if Jonathan has run away before. I hope he's found, but why are people so quick to blame everyone else but themselves when something happens?

      • Anonymous

        It’s sad that people always look for blame when something like these cases happen. The ones to blame are the parents period. What triggered him to leave was being under their roof… Sooo Why was it that bad?.. Not every kid wants to leave everything they had just bc of a website! sorry thats just a cop out! Why don’t you point the finger towards the parents!

      • SpareMeDonald

        I hate to break it to anyone here – but using a website as a scapegoat to deflect from what the real issues are is absolutely ridiculous! Apparently signs were overlooked that the child was not happy in his present situation.

        There are plenty of sites that probably go into detail about why one should run away from home. To say that this site is glorifying running away is cruel and the only people responsible are the boy that ran away and the parents.

        Donald you are a vile person…

        Open your mind to the fact that there are parents out there that want to blame the world for their misfortunate circumstances when it comes to their children's decisions. I suppose if the kid shot someone they would be blaming it on video games. Your argument about the site is invalid. T

        he parents shouldn't act all innocent. "My poor child" they need to take a cold hard look in the mirror.

        I highly doubt his decision to runaway was because of the site. He had to search for it and therefore it was in his mind already.

      • NotProud2BAnAmerican

        You are a sad excuse for a human being if your first response to a sincere apology and honest defense of civil liberty is "Does not matter.". People like you are the reason America is worth running away from. If you intend to use this sad piece of "journalism" they are calling a story as an alibi for your own ignorance; Admit that you know nothing and cannot see facts when they are presented to you, thus sparing intelligent people your woefully uneducated opinion. As for the actual article itself, I hardly expect Fox News to report truthfully on any topic without glazing it with a sensationalist spin. The editor should issue a formal apology to this blogger for slander and misrepresentation. All I see is a community being rallied to arms over a white upper middle class teen's cry for attention and a news network with nothing better to do than throw a self supporting individual onto their pyre.

  • Leif

    To the editor of this article,
    my site, The Runaway Guide is in no way a place where "kids meet adults"
    "People he met through this website"
    I'm not sure how this misconception arose but it very very untrue.

  • Patti

    I ran away a lot and it can sound like a good home, if there son was thinking about running away here is something wrong with the parents not the child. I think it's idiotic to blame a child for wanting to escape for something that you have no idea about. To his parents reevaluate yourself look deep inside and figure out what you are doing wrong.

  • Pam Delargy

    Fox ought to have done much better research before misrepresenting the Runaway Guide website/blog. It is a funny travel adventure website by a young man who documents his travels around the world. It does not encourage any kid to run away from home – in fact it documents the problems the blogger had when he did so years ago. And, as he points out in his own response to this story, when young people do sometimes write to him about running away, he tries to discourage that as a solution to family problems they might have. To accuse the blogger is not a solution to a family problem. It is a denial of the family problem.

  • FoxSucks

    This is ridiculous. Everyone needs someone else to blame for their own problems. The kid ran away from home because he's immature and doesn't know any better, which is very possibly a result from bad parenting. This has nothing to do with any website. The kid would have ran away wether he had a guide to show him to do so or not. Fox news is total crap and all the people who work their are a bunch of droids who get their info from a teleprompter.

    • ChristianHill

      Amen. SHAME on the father for trying to shift the blame. Let's focus on the real reason(s) little Jonny ran away — they're right there on the home front. Jon Sr. and wife need to look themselves in the mirror. Or perhaps maybe it's not even something they did wrong as parents. Reasons could range from simple teenage rebellion to the possibility that Jonny Jr. is a repressed homosexual looking to get out there and explore his feelings freely.

      • Donald

        I have said some terrible things on here. And it looks like some others have joined in. Who really cares who is at fault for this 15 year old child running away or his reasoning's for it. The fact is that he is out in the world unprepared for what the world brings to him. I think it is time for all of us responding to this article to leave it be. We are not the parents of this child. So we have no clue of what is going on with them. We can all speculate why the kid left. But when I read "ChristianHill" comments that went too far even for me. I think we should either help this family or shut up and leave them be.

  • Donald

    I have said some terrible things on here. And it looks like some others have joined in. Who really cares who is at fault for this 15 year old child running away or his reasoning's for it. The fact is that he is out in the world unprepared for what the world brings to him. I think it is time for all of us responding to this article to leave it be. We are not the parents of this child. So we have no clue of what is going on with them. We can all speculate why the kid left. But when I read "ChristianHill" comments that went too far even for me. I think we should either help this family or shut up and leave them be.

  • Peter

    If you're going to rip on "The Runaway Guide" you should actually read it. I don't think most of the critics actually understand why it exists in the first place.

  • Sick&Tired

    So apparently this kid is back home. Now what? Does Fox do an update and maybe at least interview the Runaway Guide guy? You all really could have damaged a legitimate person and his blog.

  • Carolyn

    Leif, the creator of "The Runaway Guide" has an adventurous soul. I've known him and his family since he was a baby. If anything, Leif's unique and creative website might convince a teen NOT to run away from home once they see all that's involved. Yes, Leif ran away when he was 16 and his family and friends were devastated but he comes back regularly and keeps in touch. He was just at home over the holidays before heading out on his current adventure. I enjoy following Leif's adventures as an armchair traveller. There is absolutely NO way Leif would try to lure a teenager away from home. If a teen has it in his or her mind to runaway, it would take more than a website like this. If anything, when that child does run away for whatever reason that child has, Leif's website will help with tips to keep that child safe rather than hinder the runaway. Good luck to you Leif. We are with you in spirt and support back home.

  • pika bitch

    runaway if u want i read that website too hell ill runaway soon to and im 13 if u aint got nothing nice to say dont fucking bitch about it


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