An 11-year-old Missouri boy who left a note saying he was running away was fatally struck by a car just two miles into his journey to his father’s home, his distraught mother said.
Zaelynn Wiseman left his home in Maryland Heights early Tuesday because he was upset about being grounded for stealing a credit card belonging to his mother’s cousin, Rhonda Cox, to buy video games, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Zaelynn was living with Cox after his mother, Garmeisha Terry, lost custody of the boy when he was 7 years old. The youngster said he was headed to Cape Girardeau, some 125 miles away, to visit his father, Terry told the newspaper.
“He left her a note and said, ‘I’m running away. I’m going to Cape to be with my dad,” Terry said. “He didn’t make it that far from her house.”
Just two miles into his trek, Zaelynn was hit by a Volkswagen Jetta as he tried crossing Interstate 270 in Maryland Heights at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. The driver, a 24-year-old woman, stayed at the scene until authorities arrived, the Missouri Highway Patrol told the newspaper.
“He will be truly missed,” Terry said, adding that the sixth-grader at Parkway Northeast Middle School in Creve Coeur loved being outdoors and playing video games.
Zaelynn did not misbehave regularly and was helpful with household chores, she said.
“You didn’t have to ask him to get up and clean, he just did it,” Terry recalled.
The boy’s great-grandmother, Mary Terry, said the family was “still in shock” Wednesday as they finalized funeral plans for Zaelynn in Cape Girardeau.
“It was just a horrible tragedy,” Cox said, declining to elaborate on what led Zaelynn to leave her home.
Parkway School District officials offered counselors for Zaelynn’s classmates Wednesday and a social worker visited each one of his online classes, the Post-Dispatch reported.
Zaelynn, who had six siblings, didn’t like being in Maryland Heights, where he was lonely, his sister, Damita Hines, told KSDK.
“I knew he didn’t like to stay here,” Hines, of Cape Girardeau, told the station. “Every time he would talk to me, he said ‘I don’t want to here, I want to come back to Cape. I don’t have any friends.’”
is now struggling with the pain of not being able to apologize to her son for not providing him a stable home before her cousin took over as the “perfect step-in mother for him,” she told KMOV.
“I will never be able to tell him how sorry I am that I wasn’t able to be that mother he deserved, for not taking the time to think about somebody besides myself,” Terry said.
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