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Beaverton runaway returns home safely

Mother relieved when daughter walked in Tuesday night

A 16-year-old Beaverton girl who apparently ran away from her home last week returned to her parents' house, where she lives, Tuesday night, hungry and tired, but otherwise safe and healthy.

'Yes, she is home, and we are very relieved and grateful she is,' said Shanti Armstrong, mother of Serena Alsteen, on Wednesday afternoon.

Armstrong, who reported Serena missing on Wednesday, Aug. 10, said her daughter showed up at her door at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.

The girl, who apparently told friends she was depressed and feeling suicidal, was last seen around 12:30 a.m. Friday. Older friends dropped Serena off with her skateboard at the intersection of Southwest Wynwood Avenue and Walker Road.

Despite reports that Serena had been seen in area parks and a transit station, there was no sign of her for days.

'I was speechless when she got home,' Armstrong said. 'I had to touch her.'

'She was hungry and tired, not talking much about where she'd been or what's going on,' Armstrong added. 'She wanted to sit and spend time with me. She said she was sorry for taking off that first day and causing me pain for taking off.'

Aside from her tendency to go escape down the street to a friend's house after family spats, Armstrong said Serena's extended departure was very much out of character.

'Everything else about this is atypical. I was 100 percent in fear,' Armstrong said. 'She's a kid who always communicates with one or two of her best friends. She always has her wallet, and always took her cell phone.'

But this time was different.

After she returned, Armstrong asked Serena, who will be a junior this fall at the Beaverton School of Science and Technology, why she didn't take her backpack with her.

'She said 'I didn't plan on being gone that long.''

'I'm not pressing for much more,' Armstrong added. 'I'm just happy she's safe and is home.'

Armstrong added she's grateful for the quick response and support she received from Det. Gary Jensen of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

'He got a hold of everyone he knew,' she said. 'He was amazing.'