Parents of a missing 16-year-old Naperville Central High School student said he has been "in a rut lately" and believe he is headed west, possibly to Colorado.
Michael Carpenter said he dropped his son, Chris, off at school Monday morning but later got a call from school officials wondering why he wasn't in class. A short-time later Carpenter discovered Chris' silver bike, laptop and large backpack all missing.
"We do believe he's headed west. We've had difficulty with him wanting to take off since June," Carpenter said of his 5-foot-10, 150-pound son. "We thought we could we satisfy that urge a little bit by sending him to two Christian camps in Almont, Colorado. He always expressed a desire to camp and do things on his own and we thought the camp would allow him that ability in a structured setting."
But since Chris returned earlier this month, Carpenter said the family has been "sorting out issues."
"We've been trying to deal with those issues that may be caused by his depression," he said. "I think were trying to figure this out but I don't know how to describe it other than he's just been in a rut."
But the fact that Chris appears to have packed clothes and is on his bike, leads the family to believe no foul play is involved.
"I think he's got something in his mind and he just wants to cut complete ties from everyone he knows," Carpenter said. "I'm not at all surprised we haven't heard from him yet because I think he is trying to prove that he can exist on his own and doesn't need people with him."
Carpenter, however, said he fears his son may have ditched the bike and eventually realized he needs to depend on someone or something.
"We know he has money and he's a smart kid so if he's headed where we think he is, I think he's realized by now that he's not getting there on his bike," he said. "He is capable of hopping on a train or a bus to expedite his journey a little."
Carpenter said the family has officially reported Chris missing and had him added to the national missing and exploited children database. Family and friends have also spent the week distributing fliers, searching nearby wooded areas and monitoring a Facebook page dedicated to finding Chris.
"We're reaching out as far as we can to get his face in front of as many people as we can," Carpenter said. "We love him very much and we want him to come home safe and we can work through everything else."
Anyone with information on Chris Carpenter's whereabouts is asked to call the Naperville Police Department at (630) 420-6666.