A West Jordan boy with a congenital heart disease who had been missing and without his medication since Aug. 19, turned up early Wednesday morning.
A friend called West Jordan police to say Nick Turner was safe but having some health problems and needed help, his mother Rose-anne Turner said.The 14-year-old boy was admitted to the Primary Children's Medical Center emergency room Wednesday morning and was awaiting a battery of tests to determine if his fragile heart had been damaged after seven days without medication.
On Aug. 19, the boy walked away from a residential group home where he had been living since June.
Tuesday night police released his photo through the news media in an effort to help the family find the boy.
Roseanne Turner spent Tuesday evening standing in front of a West Jordan grocery store handing out fliers that display a school picture of her
"I'm hoping someone will recognize him," she said.
Before the evening was out, Turner and one of her granddaughters had tacked the fliers on telephone poles, pasted them in store windows and left them on car windshields.
It's not the first time Nick's been on the lam, Turner said. In fact, over the past year, this troubled teenager has run away 21 times, his mother said.
But before, Nick has come home within a few days. Always in time to get a dose of his much needed heart medication.
Nick suffers from a congenital heart disease that requires him to take the blood thinning medicine Coumadin. Without it, the boy could suffer a massive stroke or cardiac arrest. Once he stops taking the medication, it only takes about four days for his blood to start thickening, putting his life in danger, Turner said.
In Nick's absence, the Turners checked all the "usual" places - the parks, baseball and soccer fields and friends' houses. Roseanne Turner was worried because her son was not carrying any identification and didn't have any money. She feared he'd had a massive stroke somewhere with no one to help him.
But helping Nick, it seems, is never easy. People, mostly the Turners, have been trying to help him since he was an infant.
Born to a drug- and alcohol-addicted mother, Nick was removed from his birth home at age 7 months. Roseanne Turner's sister, adopted him and raised him until she died almost seven years ago. Then Roseanne married Ed Turner, and they took over Nick's care. They've been his parents for a little more than six years.
"He's a child who has suffered a lot of emotional trauma both recently and before. He was a victim of child abuse," Roseanne Turner said.
At 3 days old, Nick had his first heart operation. At 3 years, he had open heart surgery and a plastic micro-valve was inserted to make his heart work. He's been on heart medication ever since.
Additionally Nick suffers from the emotional challenges of reactive attachment disorder.
"Which basically means he didn't bond with his birth mother," Turner said. "He doesn't trust, he doesn't love. He steals, lies, manipulates and does everything he wants to do. But we love him."
That complicated set of problems led to trouble with the law, foster care and several mental health care situations, both inpatient and outpatient. Most recently, the Turners put him at the ARTEC Youth Treatment Center in West Jordan, where he seemed to be making some progress until walking away last week.
"He's basically tried everybody to the limit," Turner said. "Sometimes you'd just like to turn him over your knee and spank him."
Regardless, Turner's not giving up on Nick.
"I'm not giving up because someday this child may be, and I hope will be, a boon to society," she said. "I know it will take some time. . . . I just want him to come home, get his medication and get some long-term help."