After a week-long adventure that culminated in a high-speed chase and fleeing on foot, it all came to an end as Matthew Bateman walked into The Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The people who dealt with him there are now describing what happened.
“A teenager came into our lobby,” said Randy Cooper, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Wichita Falls. “He had no shoes on. He was muddy. You could certainly tell he was a little scared.”
“And he was covered in mud,” added Alyson Deatherage, assistant athletic director at the facility. “His shirt was covered in mud, his jeans were all covered, he had socks on, but no shoes.”
They say he asked to use the bathroom, and they directed him to it.
Recognizing him from a flyer being circulated about a runaway, they called the police.
They say he never seemed dangerous or even impolite.
“He was definitely nervous,” said Deatherage. “He was very polite the entire time. You know, please and thank you.”
Within five minutes, he emerged from the bathroom, and the police were there.
They say he was cooperative.
“They asked him his name,” recalled Deatherage. “And he told them, ‘I’m Matthew Bateman.’ and they told him they were going to detain him. And he said OK.”
“I’m just glad we could help the family out, locate him and get him back in contact,” said Jason Richardson, athletic director.
Executive Director Randy Cooper said the whole thing left him wondering.
“My question is, on this side of the table, as someone who’s been in this work more than 40 years, what’s the young person running from?” asked Cooper. “That’s my question.”