Teenager back with his parentsPublished 10:47am Friday, November 15, 2013
Click here to subscribe and skip the survey.
A missing Brookhaven teen is now back with his adoptive parents and slept in his own bed last night for the first time in two weeks.
Jhirmack F. Smith, missing since Nov. 1, returned home Thursday afternoon after close to two weeks of no contact with his adoptive parents.
“We have been staring at his empty bed for the last two weeks, not knowing what happened to him. Every night, it would remind my wife and I of our missing boy,” said Leatrice Smith, Jhirmack’s adoptive father since 2010.
Lt. David Johnson of the Brookhaven Police Department, with other police department officials, had been searching for the missing teen since Friday, Nov. 1, after Jhirmack did not show up to school. Jhirmack’s adoptive mother, Deborah Smith, dropped him off at Brookhaven High School but didn’t hear from her son for nearly two weeks after that.
After making the decision to return home, Jhirmack turned himself in to the Brookhaven police.
“Part of police protocol says that a police officer must visually confirm that it is the missing teen, and determine that he is OK physically. There’s always the possibility that someone else could be pretending to be him,” said Johnson.
Jhirmack then returned to his home on Dow Street at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday.
One of the pressing concerns of Leatrice and Deborah Smith during this ordeal was Jhirmack’s health. Since Jhirmack suffers from allergies and asthma, there was no way for them to know if he had his necessary medicine. Now that the teen has returned home, his parents feel relieved.
“He has all his medicine and is in good shape. His health was a main concern for us,” said Leatrice.
The Department of Human Services has been called in to assist with Jhirmack’s transition.
“We contact the DHS in these cases,” said Johnson. “It’s another part of protocol.”
Lt. Johnson has been in close contact with Stephanie Henderson, interim superintendent for the Brookhaven School District. In time, Johnson says Henderson will welcome Jhirmack back to school.
“The superintendent is pleased to know that Jhirmack returned home. She is also interested in helping Jhirmack transition back to school when he is ready,” Johnson said.
When Jhirmack ran away from home, he was enrolled as a freshman at Brookhaven High School.
Despite the long road ahead, Leatrice and Deborah Smith are grateful to have Jhirmack back.
“My wife and I took all the boys out yesterday and just bought them stuff. It was like an early Christmas you could say. We thank God for Jhirmack’s return,” said Leatrice.
The Smiths have two other adopted boys besides 15-year-old Jhirmack, Jacquez, 8, and Jimmie, 12.