Ariz. teen returning from Seattle missing in Ore.

Johnathan Croom

Johnathan Croom

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azfamily.com

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 27 at 11:39 AM

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- Authorities on Friday were searching for a missing Arizona teenager whose car was found abandoned in southwest Oregon.

The SUV that 18-year-old Johnathan Croom was driving was found Wednesday in the small town of Riddle, not far from Interstate 5, Douglas County sheriff's spokesman Dwes Hutson said.

Monica Croom said Friday that her son was traveling alone and was on his way back from Seattle where he had visited a friend.

She said he left Seattle around Aug. 16 and was due back in Arizona last weekend so he could begin classes Monday at Mesa Community College.

"This is totally out of character," she said of her son. "He walked away from his car. The car did not break down. It was not out of gas. There was money in the car and the car was unlocked."

Croom said her son is "super smart" and "awesome with computers" and graduated early from Apache Junction High School.

She said he was living with his brother in Mesa and left July 30 to drive to Seattle to visit a female friend. He had been to Washington state before.

Croom said her son had Boy Scout training, but she has no idea why he would have stopped in Riddle.

Johnathan Croom is 6-foot-1 and weighs 140 pounds and might be carrying a multi-colored backpack, his mother said.

His SUV wasn't vandalized, and authorities have searched the general area where the vehicle was found.

David Croom told Oregon authorities that he has not heard from his son since Saturday. He was in Riddle on Friday trying to help investigators in the case.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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A previous version of this story stated that Croom was on his way to attend a college in Washington state. The AP has since updated the story with information from Croom's mother.

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