tampabay.com

Teen known for hiccups found safe

By MARY JANE PARK
Published June 12, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - After a day of worry, wonder and anger for her parents, Jennifer Mee is safe back at home.

"Physically, she's OK. She's just hungry, tired and thirsty," said Chris Robidoux, the stepfather of the 15-year-old girl who became internationally famous earlier this year with an incurable case of hiccups.

The family found Mee crying on a bench in Fossil Park after she had been missing more than 24 hours. They found her after tracing a tip from a friend.

Mee's mother, Rachel Robidoux, said they have yet to have a long talk about the reason for the girl's disappearance, but it appears to relate to a dispute with her stepfather and a teen testing her boundaries.

"I know it's rough to be a teenager," said Mee's mother. "She has to know that we love her, but we have to have rules."

Mee was reported missing Monday after she apparently ran away from home Sunday night. Her mother filed a runaway report with St. Petersburg police early Monday morning.

Robidoux had last seen Jennifer Saturday night because Robidoux worked early Sunday while the rest of the family was asleep. Jennifer and two of her sisters spent Sunday afternoon with several friends, swimming at Fossil Park.

Jennifer's younger sisters Ashley McCauley and Kayla Robidoux checked in periodically, Robidoux said. "They came home before dark like she (Jennifer) was supposed to."

Members of the family went looking for Jennifer, who had said she was going to walk some friends home. One of her sisters saw Jennifer at the Roberts Community Center, 1246 50th Ave., Robidoux said. But Jennifer couldn't be found in the area later.

Jennifer and her stepfather recently had a disagreement over termination of her cell phone service as a disciplinary measure, Rachel Robidoux said. Chris also said he was concerned about some of her friends and things Jennifer had written on MySpace that were too mature for a girl her age.

On Sunday, the family paid to have the phone turned back on, in case she had it with her. They called her number, but the phone rang inside a dresser drawer in the girls' bedroom at their home. They dialed all of the numbers she had stored, Rachel Robidoux said, without success.