PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 32-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son who were missing from Washington County were found very late Thursday in Southeast Portland.
Nicole Marie Murphy and her son Caiden were found not far from a Plaid Pantry where they were spotted Wednesday night. Authorities said Caiden was left with a family member but Nicole ran as officers approached.
The child is safe, they said.
Nicole and Caiden disappeared on Tuesday. They had been staying at a recovery center in North Plains, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Staff at the recovery center dropped the mother and son off at an urgent care facility on Northwest 185th Avenue and Northwest Cornell Road in Hillsboro.
Surveillance video shows Nicole make a call from a wall-mounted phone at the urgent care facility. Deputies learned that she left the building after being told she would need to wait 20 minutes.
She was reported missing a short time later and has not used her cell phone since that time.
The pair were spotted on Wednesday at about 8 p.m. at a Plaid Pantry at 122nd and Market in Southeast Portland, deputies said.
Nicole is white, 4-foot-11 and 115 pounds with dirty blonde hair and green eyes.
Deputies said Wednesday that while there were no signs of foul play, her family was worried about her and her ability to care for her son.
“I think there is a concern that she is recovering from some sort of an addiction and whether or not she left the treatment facility or recovery center, that she could have possibly been in a bad place and that puts the child in danger,” said Washington County Sheriff Deputy Brian van Kleef.
Nicole’s mom, Melissa Murphy, has full custody of Caiden. She told KOIN 6 News she allowed him to stay with his mother while Nicole tried to overcome her addiction to heroin at a family-friendly recovery center.
Melissa thought her daughter was doing well and never thought Nicole would take Caiden and disappear.
“It really hurts me because I really did try hard and I thought I accomplished it but, you know, I guess they have to do it on their own,” Melissa said. “She said ‘thank you mom, thanks for everything’ and gave me a big hug.”
Melissa said her daughter asked the recovery center to take her to urgent care to have a rash checked and staff members dropped her off without a phone. But Nicole left the medical center after learning about the 20-minute wait.
Melissa said her daughter spent some time living on the streets of Southeast Portland and is familiar with the area she was reported to be in last.
“If there is something wrong with her and Caiden, you know, this will help also get her noticed faster — that way I can get them home because I don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re at.”