Family says East Texas rehab facility failed to notice Lubbock 14-year-old was missing for over 8 hours

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Caden Smith, 14, image provided by family

UPDATE (8/5/2021): Caden Smith was found safe and was on his way home, according to family.

LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock 14-year-old sent to a facility near Tyler, Texas, for rehabilitation and counseling was missing as of Wednesday, according to family. The family said the facility failed to notice he was gone for over eight hours.

Caden Smith was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, with dark brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen leaving the “Azelway [sic] facility” in Big Sandy, Texas, a family member said. There is a facility called the Azleway Substance Abuse Program in Big Sandy, which has a goal of helping young men ages 13-17 “develop a solid recovery program,” according to their website.

According to the family, two months ago, Caden was sent to the facility – located over 450 miles away from Lubbock – on a bus by the Lubbock County Juvenile Detention Center. Family said they “were reassured he was going to a rehab that would get him help.”

However, the family was informed early Tuesday that Caden had left the facility sometime Monday around 11:07 p.m. Headcounts were supposed to be done throughout the night, the family said, but the teen was not found missing until 7:30 a.m., and his mother wasn’t informed until closer to 8:00 a.m.

His family said the facility has video of him leaving out of a window while his roommates watched the door for guards.

The family also said the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, where the facility is located, was not notified until 9:00 a.m. Monday.

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