MIAMI -- Two teens in love have disappeared weeks before graduating from high school in June.
Police believe Nicole Marie Dones, 17, and Jackson Wayne Powell, 18, decided to run away because of their families' disapproval of their relationship. They met while they were both juniors at Miami Palmetto High School.
"We just believe that it's a modern day Romeo and Juliet," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Edna Hernandez.
Detectives said they do not believe the teenagers are in any danger, but it has been a week since they went missing. Dones' parents say her decision to run away doesn't make sense. She had been looking forward to a family trip to the Bahamas and had been working for days on a final project.
"She had a couple of weeks until graduation and so much to look forward to," said Nicole's father, Angel Dones. "The dead silence of this is really worrying me."
A couple of weeks ago, the two were caught skipping school together.
"We were trying to keep her away from him," Dones said.
Wayne Powell, Jackson's father, said he also tried to get his son to stay away from Dones and "back off a little bit." He had been investing a lot of energy on the relationship, he said, and his performance at school was suffering.
On the web, family and friends have set up a Facebook page titled "Has anyone seen Jackson Powell and Nicole Dones?" At about 1 p.m. Wednesday, the page had 970 followers.
Powell, 18, had been going through some trouble with the law, after he lost his older brother in a car crash in Gainesville, Fla., last year.
"She would never bring him around because he was in trouble and couldn't leave the house," Dones said. "She would drive to his house to see him."
Dones, 17, had introduced Powell to her father, and had asked that he give her boyfriend another chance. He did.
"She was so happy when I went over to talk to him," Dones said. "It's puzzling why she would leave."
Nicole's parents are divorced. She lived with her mother and stepfather, who were the last ones to see her at her Killian, Fla., home.
Powell left his parents Palmetto Bay, Fla., home early April 18. He was driving his parent's car -- a dark blue 2006 Jeep Cherokee with minor frontal damage -- Florida tag number W66OEB.
"This is a boyfriend and girlfriend who have run off together," said Powell's father. "They obviously want to be together without any parental interference."
The parents have hired a private investigator and are offering anyone with information a $5,000 reward.
"Right now we have nothing . . . we have used everything we have, every resource we have to try to find them," said David Gonzalez, the Doneses' private investigator.
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