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Grandmother of missing Valley teen says he is OK, but whereabouts still unknown

VALLEY — The grandmother of a missing 16-year-old Valley teenager has called the Valley Police Department informing them he is safe, according to Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon.

Weldon said the grandmother called the detective who has been working the case, but she was unable to reveal the location of the Darren Earles, who was reported missing Oct. 25.

The detective met with the grandmother a few weeks ago through police interviews pertaining to the case, allowing him to confirm the woman calling was the grandmother. 

He told her to call the police if she received any new information. 

Weldon said the grandmother gave the police the phone from where Earles called from, but the police haven’t been able to determine where the call originated. 

He said it was a prepaid cell phone.

Weldon said detectives are following up with the grandmother through another round of interviews. However, the police are still working on the assumption that Earles ran away.

“All the information that we have received indicates that he willingly ran away and that he was not abducted,” he said.

Kim McConnell, the mother of Earles, said Tuesday she hasn’t heard from her son. 

She said that the grandmother commented on her Facebook page saying Earles as safe.

She said the grandmother is from LaGrange and is the mother of Earles’s father.

In November, Weldon said Earles was last seen leaving Valley High School with his backpack, walking toward the Circle K gas station. He said the police are working on the theory that Earles ran away, but there isn’t video evidence to show if he got into a vehicle.

Anybody with information about Earles’ whereabouts is encouraged to call the Valley Police Department at (334) 756-5200.