ANAHEIM : Runaway Boy Wants to Return to U.S.

Francisco Vargas, the youth who fled to Mexico because he was distraught that he could not get medical treatment for severe facial scarring, now wants to return to the United States, one of his teachers said Wednesday.

"I told him some of the students are gathering money at our school to see if they can get enough together for the fare back," said Linda Aguirre, the boy's English teacher at South Junior High School where about $100 for Francisco has been contributed.

Aguirre said she contacted Francisco, 14, a day after he refused to talk to his parents. The boy, who left home more than two weeks ago, arrived in Mexico City on Monday, after taking a bus from Tijuana for the 2,100-mile journey.

His parents said Francisco was upset at them for promising to find a doctor who could offer medical help with Francisco's severe facial scarring. The boy was injured in Mexico City, where he grew up, during an incident involving matches, his parents said.

Two plastic surgeons who learned of the boy's plight after he left home have now offered their services free of charge. In addition, a private pilot has offered to fly Francisco from Mexico City to California.

But the family faces a legal obstacle. Francisco's aunt, Inez Mendoza, said her nephew was in the United States illegally and lacks the proper documentation to re-enter California.

"Even with all the offers of help, we still can't bring him back because he is not documented," Mendoza said.

The family was attempting to call legal and social service organizations for help, she said.

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