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Immigration Children Center Claims 15-Year-Old Ran Away

Southwest Key Casa Padre — the boys immigration center that used to be a Walmart — has lost a 15-year-old boy, and he’s not the only one. On Saturday, officials from the Brownsville, Texas, children’s immigration center said the teen left the facility and they have been unable to locate him.

According to NBC News, Southwest Key has 19,849 children that they’re responsible for, and, of those 42 male adolescents have left the premises. The Casa Padre facility, which as of now, has been the only center that journalists have been allowed to enter. This center is just one of many where children who either attempt to cross the U.S./Mexico border alone or are separated from their families are sheltered.

“As a licensed child care center, if a child attempts to leave any of our facilities, we cannot restrain them,” a rep for Southwest Key said to NBC News. “We are not a detention center. We talk to them and try to get them to stay. If they leave the property, we call law enforcement.”

A man claiming to be the boy’s father has told news outlets that his son is alive. The man, who lives in Dallas, told authorities that the teen called him on Sunday and said that he had returned to Mexico and gave him money so that he could return to his home country of Honduras.

CNN reports that the boy had entered the U.S. illegally on his own and has been housed at Casa Padre for 36 days prior to leaving.