11-year-old runaway from foster care caught in troubling cycle

Deputies ask for public's help in finding Justin Williams

Justin Williams, 11, was reported missing.

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Broward Sheriff's Office deputies hoping to avert tragedy fear a traumatized 11-year-old boy is caught in a troubling cycle. Joy Oglesby, a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff's Office, said Thursday night that Justin Williams is a habitual runaway.

Deputies suspected the boy decided he would rather risk the dangers of the streets than stay in the foster-care system. Oglesby said he took off Monday and was last seen Thursday afternoon wearing a red T-shirt, red shorts and blue shoes in Pompano Beach.

Detective Chris Blankenship said he needed the public's help to find him. The Florida Department of Children and Families was investigating.

Research shows children who run away often have a history of involvement in the foster care system, they usually run because they want to reconnect with their biological families or express their autonomy, and they are more vulnerable to drug use, sexual exploitation and untreated mental health disorders. 

Blankeship was asking anyone with information about Justin's whereabouts to call him at 954-321-4268 or Broward County's regional communications at 954-764-4357.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.