Indica Huddleston, 16, had never run away from home before she left on August 16.
Mother Andrea Huddleston believes a stranger her daughter met online lured Indica away.
“I wish I could go back and I wish I could have done more to just be involved,” Huddleston said.
Huddleston said she noticed many red flags while looking through Indica’s Facebook page after the teen went missing.
“There were very clear indicators by people that deal with these kinds of things that some of these people are not even who they say they are,” she said.
ABC 4 Utah Reporter Cristina Rendon reached out to the Chief of Law Enforcement for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Ken Wallentine. He said online predators are waiting to prey on teenagers.
“They really experts at convincing kids to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise,” Wallentine said.
He said parents should parents should talk their children about the dangers of social media and limit their use of the internet.
“Your kids are going to be on Facebook, they’re going to be in MyYearbook, they’re going to be on all kinds of social media sites and you should be too,” he said. “That should be one of the conditions of providing technology in your home.”
Huddleston said having a missing daughter is one of the hardest things she’s ever had to experience, but she hopes other parents learn from what she didn’t do.
“If I could just plead with mothers and fathers to just be aware,” she said. “Take the time, take the steps necessary to create family rules and enforce them. If we can help make it so other children can be found, we’re going to try. This has got to be bigger than just Indica.”
Wallentine added that one of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to not be involved in your children’s online activity because they don’t want to seem too overbearing, but he said it is necessary to keep your child safe.
Lone Peak Police may soon change Indica’s status level from a runaway to an “endangered missing person.”
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