Florida Mom Says Her Son Might Have Run Away Six Months Ago – But Now He’s Missing

When Jhamila Shine goes grocery shopping, she picks up her son’s favorite things: cinnamon Pop-Tarts and macaroni and cheese. She’ll even make him his favorite baked potato soup.

“Every time I cook, I’ll post on Facebook, “Hey son, I’m making your favorite meal. If you get away, come home and eat a good meal,” she says.

Her 17-year-old son Micheal Shine III has been missing since Aug. 15 when he worked an overnight janitorial job at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. After work, he left for classes at West University Charter High School — but he never returned home.

According to the nonprofit National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, there were 424,066 reports of missing children made to law enforcement in the US in 2018. Some of those kids may have been abducted, some may have run away, but they all have stories that need to be heard.

After Micheal’s parents reported him missing, law enforcement confirmed that Micheal spent a week at a friend’s house. Authorities classified him as a runaway.

“We believe Micheal is alive and well and making conscious decisions to stay away from his home,” Tampa Police Department spokesperson Janelle McGregor tells PEOPLE. “However, we encourage him to reach out to his parents because they are deeply concerned about him.”

Despite law enforcement’s claims, Shine says her son would never stay away this long without contacting his parents or his three younger brothers.

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“My husband and I know our son and we know his heart. My son is not a runaway,” says Shine, who has held vigils, put up posters, and waded through nearby wetlands looking for her son. “He is definitely missing.”

Heartbroken, Shine continues to hope for reunification with her oldest son, whom she calls her birthday gift because he was born on May 2, one day after her own birthday.

“I don’t know if he’s eating. I don’t know if he has clothes. I don’t know anything,” she says. “I can’t imagine these people missing their kids for two years. I can’t imagine the anguish they go through, because it has only been six months and I’m losing my mind.”

If you have any information about Micheal Shine III, call Tampa Police at 813-231-6130 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

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