The Florida girl known to the country as "hiccup girl" was found safe and sound Monday, a day after she apparently ran away from home because she was upset at her mother and stepfather.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that family members found Jennifer Mee, 15, laying on a park bench crying Monday afternoon, hours after her mother, Rachel Robidoux, reported her missing to police. Robidoux told TODAYshow.com on Monday that Jennifer may have been upset because her cell phone was turned off for non-payment of charges.
"Physically, she's OK. She's just hungry, tired and thirsty," Chris Robidoux, Jennifer's stepfather, told the newspaper.
Jennifer was treated earlier this year for chronic hiccuping, a rare condition that caused her to have as many as 50 involuntary spasms an hour. Appearing on TODAY three times in February and March to discuss her condition, Jennifer tried numerous home remedies suggested in thousands of e-mails from viewers, but nothing worked.
During her last appearance on March 2, Jennifer was almost hiccup-free, and doctors were stumped as to why.
Within a week, however, the hiccups had returned and doctors began prescribing various medicines that kept the spasms at bay, for the most part, Robidoux said.
Although Jennifer had started becoming a typical rebellious teen before the onset of her medical condition, Robidoux said her daughter became more defiant in recent months.
‘She changed a lot’
She suspects the medicine and Jennifer’s time in the national media spotlight had an adverse affect on her personality.
“She is periodically hiccuping. She’s still on some medicine,” Robidoux said. “She’s really changed a lot, her personality, and part of it is because she was on national TV and brain medicines. She comes and goes as she pleases.”
Before Jennifer was found Monday, Robidoux hoped that her daughter was just angry and acting out.
“I am very close with Jennifer,” Robidoux said. “That’s why this is really bothering me. I have always tried to be her friend and her mother ... I wanted her to feel like she can talk to me about whatever she wanted to talk about.”