A teen has escaped the U.S.'s largest facility for migrant children in Texas after more than a month at the shelter, according to reports.
The 15-year-old boy, who apparently traveled from Honduras to the U.S. without any relatives, ran away after hopping a fence during “scheduled outside time” at Southwest Key Casa Padre in Brownsville Saturday, the New York Daily News reported.
"As a licensed child care center, if a child attempts to leave any of our facilities, we cannot restrain them. We are not a detention center," Southwest Key Programs spokesman Jeff Eller told the newspaper. "We talk to them and try to get them to stay.”
Police were notified of the boy’s escape and searched the area, but were unable to find him.
The unnamed boy spent 36 days at Casa Padre, a former Walmart converted to house at one time nearly 1,500 children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
At the time of the child’s escape, the federal Office of Refugees and Resettlement was working to reunite him with a man in Dallas who claimed to be his father.
The man had the child’s birth certificate, but a DNA test proved he was not the father and authorities were working to determine if the man was related to the boy in another way, the News wrote.
Officials notified the man that the boy ran away, and the man called the shelter on Sunday saying he had reached the boy, who was by then in Mexico and planning to go back to Honduras.
Authorities have not been able to verify whether the boy had gone to Mexico.