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It’s normal for 16-year-olds to need some time alone to calm down after an argument. Michael Houston says these “teen moments,” as he called them, are typical for his son Evan.
“He has run away before, but only to family or close friends,” Michael told Dateline. “We’ve always known exactly where he was – he just sometimes needs some space.”
According to Michael, Evan and his mother moved from Darby, Pennsylvania to Chester, Pennsylvania about a year ago. The two towns are only about 20 minutes from each other, and are near downtown Philadelphia.
Michael lives in Dover, Delaware and spoke to his son at Christmastime. He said everything seemed to be fine with Evan when they spoke.
But not even two weeks into the new year, everything was not fine.
Evan’s mom told Michael that, on the night of January 10, 2018, she and Evan got into a small argument at their home in Chester. Officer Jim Shubb, Chester Police Department Captain of Detectives, told Dateline that the next morning at 7:00 a.m., Evan’s mom says she saw him leaving for school on foot, as per usual.
But he was walking in the opposite direction of his normal route.
Evan’s dad Michael told Dateline that Evan’s mom “called the school to see if he had shown up. They said he hadn’t, and that’s when people got worried and this whole thing got rolling.”
Michael said his son’s cell phone had recently been stolen, and he didn’t have a driver’s license. Family members believe he only had a little bit of cash on him at the time he disappeared. According to Chester Police Department records, Evan’s mom called to report him as missing just a few hours later, at 10:47 a.m.
Michael told Dateline his son has three Instagram accounts; since his disappearance one has been deleted and the remaining two have been inactive.
“He has gone completely off the radar,” Michael said. “He hasn’t contacted anyone – we’re really worried at this point. Both his mother and myself have lost a lot of sleep over this.”
Michael said Evan hangs out with a group of friends who live in northeast Philadelphia – only about a 30-minute drive from Chester – so they thought there was a chance he took a bus there. The family went looking there though, and talked to his friends. Their search came up empty.
“All I want people to know is: If they see him, or if they even know him, tell him to call. I’d rather have any report than nothing,” Michael told Dateline. “I have prepared myself for the worst, but I don’t want to accept the worst.”
Evan Houston was last seen wearing his school uniform of khaki pants, a dark blue shirt, hoodie, and white sneakers. He is described as being 5’8” and weighing about 135 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. If you have any information in regards to Evan’s whereabouts, please call the Chester Police Department at 610-447-8424.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with information from the Chester Police Department.