Missing Merced siblings found near Chowchilla

11/19/2013 12:21 PM

11/19/2013 4:15 PM

A brother and sister who went missing after running away from home during the weekend are back with family members, thanks to a tipster who notified law enforcement, authorities reported Tuesday.

Alex Crowson, 11, and his sister Aponi Crowson, 12, were reported missing by family members Sunday morning. Merced police officials said Monday that they believed the children ran away and may had been trying to reach their grandmother’s house in the Porterville area.

A Pepsi truck driver who had seen fliers for the missing children spotted them sitting by themselves at a truck stop in the Chowchilla area about 10a.m. Tuesday, according to Merced Police Sgt. Scott Skinner. The truck driver notified the California Highway Patrol, and an officer was sent to the location where the children were spotted.

Sgt. Scott Skinner said the children were in good health. Police said they believe the children had walked from Merced to the truck stop, which is more than a dozen miles from their home, and the siblings apparently spent the night near some train tracks. They had brought a blanket, chips and soda along for their trek. Skinner described the children as “very polite.”

The children said they had been attempting to walk from Merced to their grandmother’s home in the Porterville area, Skinner said, and they made a previous attempt to run away in January, but were found near Highway 140 and Arboleda Drive. “We’re very fortunate this Pepsi driver had spotted them,” Skinner said.

The children were returned to the custody of their father, 40-year-old Larry Crowson.

Crowson said he was thankful to be reunited with his children. The siblings’ mother, Marlene Peyron died in a 2009 car crash at age 30.

Crowson said the children recently had been disciplined and decided to run away.

He said he’d been driving around Merced and Madera counties since Sunday, frantically looking for them. “I haven’t been to work in two days. I’ve been out there looking. I just thank God they’re all right,” Crowson said.

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