A teenager lived undetected for two days at a 24-hour Wal-Mart after running away from his aunt’s home last month, police said Wednesday.
A store employee eventually spotted the 14-year-old when he stepped out from behind some boxes in the baby apparel aisle.
When the employee pushed aside the boxes, a number of items were found indicating that the teen had been staying for a while, Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick said.
“Normally if there’s a child missing in a store, we’re actively looking for that child,” Nick said. “But it’s a different matter when employees are unaware a child is missing.
“We just didn’t have any knowledge that this child was missing, and certainly not in one of our stores.”
A teenager walking around in a Wal-Mart wouldn’t have caught an employee’s attention, Nick said, particularly in a Supercenter that’s at least 200,000 square feet with thousands of customers coming and going.
The boy pilfered food and drinks from the store and changed clothes periodically to avoid detection, KTVT/Channel 4 reported.
The boy’s parents were out of town, and he was staying with his aunt in Corsicana when he ran away July 28, Corsicana police said.
He was found two days later at the store.
Nick said he left the store when the employee spotted him, but Corsicana police found him outside.
The teen, from nearby Rice, has a history of running away and tended to hide in abandoned homes and businesses, police said.
Wal-Mart doesn’t intend to seek charges against the teen, Nick said.