Girl, 15, left home after uni row

September 24 2004

A GIFTED American schoolgirl who ran away to Britain after a row with her
parents was found yesterday at a hotel near Loch Ness.

Jing Wen Chen,15,used her mum’s credit card to book a transatlantic
flight, then headed north after arriving at Gatwick on Monday.

She called her mother from London’s Victoria Station the day she arrived,
then vanished.

But she turned up safe and well near Inverness after detectives sent her
an email begging her to get in touch.

Jing’s mum Sharon, who flew to Britain to find her, said: ‘I’m not angry
with her. I’m so relieved.

‘She has been under a lot of stress about her studies.When I see her I
will give her a big hug and tell her I love her.’

Sharon said she and her husband, a university professor, had a row with
Jing over the amount of time she was spending on the internet.

She added: ‘We had a big argument because we were worried that it was
going to affect her studies.’

‘My husband told her he would not support her through college but he
didn’t mean it.’

‘I think Jing took the threat seriously. She has always dreamed of going
to Harvard or Yale and becoming an exchange student at Oxford.’

Jing, of Rolla, Missouri, arrived in Britain with her mum’s credit card,
a small rucksack and £330 in cash.

Several police forces joined the search for her but officers believe she
stopped using the credit card because she knew it could be used to track

Jing was due to be reunited with her mother at Gatwick last night.
Sharon, 40, said: ‘I don’t know whether we will go straight back home -
that will be up to Jing.

‘Maybe we will go and visit Oxford University together.’

Police will talk to Jing. But Detective Inspector Bill Warner said: ‘She
hasn’t broken any laws. She’s a smart girl.’

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