UPDATE 10/5/2023: Alyssa's mother, Cyndi Roman, says she has been found and is expected to be okay.
AUSTIN, Texas - A South Austin mother is hoping her teenage daughter will come home after running away earlier this month.
16-year-old Alyssa Herrera has been missing since Sept. 7.
"I miss her, and I love her, and I really wish she would come back because a part of me is missing. A part of me is missing," her mother Cyndi Roman said.
Cyndi says Alyssa missed her 16th birthday, which fell a week after she was reported missing.
On Sept. 6, Cyndi says she confronted Alyssa about skipping class. She was homeschooled last year.
"She promised that if I enrolled her in public schools, she would go, she would attend, she would do well. She had been showing us responsibility. She had been showing us honesty. We had had no problems at all with her. So we decided to go ahead and enroll her," Cyndi said. "Then she didn't even make it the first week. And I started getting the emails that she was missing classes."
The next day, Alyssa stayed home. As Cyndi thought about what to do next, she says Alyssa left home around 2:30 p.m. and didn't come back.
Her only way of communicating with her daughter was through a friend, who told her Alyssa was with a boy from school. However, about a week after Alyssa's disappearance, that line of communication was gone.
"Saturday, I texted her and I said, 'have you heard from her? Do you know she's okay?' And she said she blocked her. So, she cut communications with her because she told her that I was really worried about her," Cyndi said.
Cyndi says all she wanted to do was keep Alyssa safe.
"We don't want her to have a teen pregnancy," she said. "Basically, she ran away because I wouldn't allow her to have a boyfriend, and I wouldn't allow her to cut classes... it's hard because they don't understand that we're trying to protect them."
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She says this would be her message to her daughter.
"I love you and everything I've ever done, I've done because I love you. I don't do it because I want to be mean," she said.
Cyndi says she thinks Alyssa is in South Austin, but doesn't know exactly where.
"I just feel lost right now. My hands are tied...I'm trying to reach out and no one's reaching back," she said.
Austin Police confirmed they responded to a missing service call.
The National Center for Missing and Endangered Children (NCMEC) says last year, out of over 27,000 reports they got, over 90 percent were endangered runaways.
"There are push and pull factors. They're often running from something or to something. It really depends on the circumstances of the child," Leemie Kahng-Sofer, director of case management with the missing children division at NCMEC said. "Just because they left voluntarily does not mitigate the risk factors of them being out there."
NCMEC says if a child is refusing to communicate with parents, see if there's another trusted adult they could talk to.
"What we would encourage is to make sure that law enforcement has a report, that it's reported to the national centers so that we can utilize our many resources and the most visible one being our poster, and that we can target and distribute as we get the information," Kahng-Sofer said.
For more information and resources from NCMEC, click here.