story by Deidre Pulley
"I'm sorry mom, but I left. I can't stand living here. You said you didn't care what happen[s] to me so please don't call the cops." Maggie Alcantara, 17, ran away from home on Friday October 14, 2016.
At 9:15 p.m., Lilia Alcantara came home from work at La Bodega, a Mexican market in Paducah. There was a note in the kitchen by the microwave. She opened it. "I can't explain. It was very hard," she says about reading the note.
This was not the first time Maggie ran away from home. It all started her freshman year of high school when she ran away after a fight with her mom. Over time, tension between Maggie and her mom grew. "One day she loves me, and the next day she's mad at me," Maggie says.
For two days Lilia drove her youngest child, Donny, to school, but not Maggie. After school, Donny would stay at La Bodega but now without his sister beside him. While Maggie was missing, Lilia had to keep La Bodega open. She couldn't afford to close the store that she has owned and operated for three years. "This is like my second home. I'm here all the time," she says about the store.
On Wednesday, October 19, just as Lilia and Donny sat down to eat after school, Lilia got a phone call. The police had found Maggie. They immediately left La Bodega to pick her up.
On being home again Maggie says, “[It was] kinda the same as before. We just acted like nothing happened and move on.”
Lilia says, "Sometimes I tell her 'Yeah, run away, I don't care what happens.' But she's my daughter and I love her. She's my baby.”