THE INVESTIGATORS: New Iberia mom wants answers after son runs away from capital area group home

Mother wants answers after 15-year-old son runs away from Baton Rouge group home

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A New Iberia teen has been missing for almost a week after he took off from a group home in Baton Rouge. His mother now wants to know how he was able to walk right out the front door of the home while he was in the state’s care.

Jayden Vongchanh, 15, left the group home on Saturday, Oct. 17 and has not been seen since. According to official reports given to the 9News Investigators, he left the Harmony Center Incorporated around 9:30 p.m. The report says the teen left his room and came downstairs. It adds that when staff asked him where he was going he didn’t say anything before walking out the front door. Once the teen left the building workers at the facility called the Office of Juvenile Justice as well as the Baton Rouge Police Department.

The report from BRPD says a staff member told responding officers the teen made a phone call to an unknown person and told other residents he was tired of living in the group home and walked out. Those details though appear to be missing from the report filed by the group home. The teen’s mother says she has called the facility several times and has not really gotten any answers and she believes because her son was in the state’s care when he left, more should be happening right now to make sure he’s safe.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the mother if she believes more could be done right now to find her son.

“Yeah, I feel like he’s a missing minor and he’s not actively being searched for,” said Katie Vongchanh. “So it’s just been like a really big runaround and nobody’s really looking so I’ve been putting up flyers all over and his dad has been putting up flyers and posting on Facebook trying to get it on the news just to get his face out there at least.”

WAFB made several attempts to call the facility but the line was busy. The Baton Rouge Police Department referred questions to the Office of Juvenile Justice. A spokesperson there released the following statement.

“We cannot confirm whether a juvenile is or is not in our custody but when a juvenile does runaway from a group home we do coordinate with law enforcement and organize our efforts to pursue them as a runaway case in order to bring them back to the facility safely.”

The mother says it’s not good enough and she can’t help but think the worst. She is hoping someone out there has seen him or has some kind of information that will help authorities find him.

She says she spoke with him about four days before he went missing and says at the time he was excited about his placement in the group home after recently being moved from a facility where he was unhappy.

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