Mom pleads for runaways to call home |

Mom pleads for runaways to call home

Sheila Gardner / The Record-Courier

The mother of two runaway girls has a message for her teenage daughters: “We love you; call and let us know you’re OK. You are not in trouble.”

Since Monday, the girls’ mother has been in Manteca, blanketing truck stops and other locations with fliers seeking information about her daughters.

The girls left their Gardnerville Ranchos home late Saturday night with a 40-year-old man authorities identified as Jeffery Alan Palmer of Gardnerville, who reportedly drove them to Manteca.

Palmer was arrested early Monday at a motel in Manteca with the girls and the teenage boy. Authorities said the room was littered with alcohol containers.

Palmer was arrested on several charges, including child abduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is in jail in San Joaquin County on $103,000 bail.

The boy was returned to his parents, and the sisters were taken to a safe house to await their parents. The girls ran away again before their parents arrived, and they last were seen with the boy trying to get rides at the Flying J Truck stop in nearby Ripon.

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Authorities believed they may have been on their way to Oregon or Canada.

“I would just like to tell them that even if they’re afraid to come home, at least contact somebody and let them know they’re OK,” Amy Meeks said in an interview from California. “We definitely want them to know they’re not in trouble. We love them.”

Meeks is staying in California with the missing boy’s family while they search for their children.

Meeks said her daughter Emily met the boy a month ago when she was visiting a childhood friend in Manteca.

“I am not sure how this happened, but they hooked up with Jeff Palmer, who offered to drive them down so Emily could visit this boy she likes,” Meeks said.

She said one of the girls had been exchanging text messages with Palmer for several weeks. Meeks also said when she hit the redial button on her house phone, it dialed Palmer’s number.

Meeks told Douglas County authorities that she last saw her daughters Saturday night just before midnight. She thinks they left through a bedroom window and met up with Palmer after she went to sleep.

She said the girls and Palmer arrived in Manteca on Sunday. By this time, authorities were looking for the fugitives.

“The motel people called the cops in Manteca. It was obvious something weird was happening,” Meeks said.

By the time Meeks arrived in Stockton to pick up her girls, they were gone again.

“We’re just totally thrashed,” she said. “We’ve left messages for them that they’re not in trouble and to please just contact us and let us know they’re OK.”

She doesn’t believe the teenagers have much money and thinks they are trying to get rides at truck stops.

“The truckers we talked to said they never give rides to teenagers, especially girls, and thought they might be getting rides with regular drivers,” Meeks said.

She asked her daughters to call the National Runaway Switchboard at (800) RUNAWAY to leave their parents a message.

Anyone with information about Emily and Charlotte Meeks is asked to contact their mother, Amy Meeks, at (775) 560-4055, or the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (775) 782-9935.