Four Teens Go Missing in Xbox Romance

When it comes to teens and technology, it seems that kids are always one step ahead of their parents.

That’s the sentiment some folks are feeling after four Iowa teens sparked up a romance via the Xbox gaming system and ended up running away from their homes this past weekend.

The story allegedly starts with 16-year-old Corey Sunderman, who met his girlfriend Jazlyn Visek, 15, through Xbox’s online gaming system. In this virtual world, gamers can not only create their own characters/avatars to play in various games, but they can also meet other players anywhere in the world. They can play against these other people, chat, form friendships, and in some cases build more serious relationships.

UPDATE: Four teens have been found.

“I don’t let him have a Facebook account because I don’t want him meeting people online,” Crystal Sunderman said in a Yahoo! News story. “I didn’t realize they could do so much on Xbox.”

Late Friday night, Corey and Austin Boggs, 13, went skateboarding. They were caught by police for violating curfew and returned to the Sunderman’s home. Crystal Sunderman, the boy’s mother, took all of the kids’ shoes and assumed that would keep them from leaving again. But the next morning, Corey’s father Tony found the boys missing along with Crystal’s laptop and $400 from Tony Sunderman’s newly-cashed check. The boys also found boots in the garage, then took the 1997 gold Jeep Cherokee that Tony had brought home from his iron and metal recycling job. According to the article, “The license-less vehicle was spotted nearly four hours away in Benton County at around 10 a.m. Saturday, the same county the missing Iowa girls call home.”

Later that same Saturday, Jazlyn Visek and Skie Floyd, also 15, disappeared as well. Police have been able to trace some of the boys’ activity, leading them to believe the girls are now with them. The article explains:

Police and parents are speaking with students at each of the missing teens’ schools. From those conversations, they’ve gleaned potential leads to the kids’ whereabouts, which may include a Florida skateboarding park. Wherever the teens have headed, it does not appear they brought a lot.

“One of the things that’s a little out of the ordinary for a normal runaway is Skie did not take anything with her other than her cell phone,” said Sheriff Randall Forsyth of Benton County. This leads police to believe the girls did not expect to be gone long. However, he adds, “It’s been long enough, and nobody’s heard from these kids. We’re not sure what the situation is.”

There’s no word as to whether or not police have tried to trace the phone’s GPS location.

According to the report, this is Corey Sunderman’s third disappearance from home, though in the past he always returned and there was never any legal trouble; however, he most recently did it this past summer, and with another girl he’d met on Xbox. “He’s got contacts in Pennsylvania, in Washington, in all these places,” Crystal Sunderland said, astonished.

Since the girls’ disappearance, they’ve had no communication police could trace.

UPDATE: Four teens have been found.