Teen confused after police mistakenly report him as ‘runaway’


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One New Mexico teen was a little confused when he saw the Santa Fe Police Department share his picture online.

Police told the public to be on the lookout for him.

However, police posted the wrong picture, saying the boy had run away from home.

Zachary Gutierrez, 18, said he was actually at his dad’s house when he got the news.

He said the post sparked calls of concern from friends and family on Wednesday.

“Why are you on the run? You’re 18 years old. You shouldn’t be on the run,” that’s what Gutierrez said people were telling him.

SFPD Facebook Runaway Teen WRONG PHOTO
SFPD Facebook Runaway Teen WRONG PHOTO

Santa Fe Police alerted the public about a runaway juvenile who was last seen a week ago, leaving his Santa Fe home.

“Kinda freaked me out a little bit,” Gutierrez said. “What did I do? That’s what I was thinking honestly.”

Turns out, he didn’t do anything.

He is not sure how police ended up with his picture, but he knew they had the wrong guy after reading the age, height and weight of the Zachary Gutierrez who’d run away.

A string of comments on Facebook show the confusion:

“That doesn’t look like him,” one person posted.

“That’s my little bro,” another posted.

“That’s the wrong Zach,” someone wrote.

The post stayed up for more than 24 hours before police corrected it on Thursday afternoon.

No one from the department would answer KRQE News 13’s questions on camera.

In an email, police said the incorrect picture was taken from Facebook and that after family of the missing 16-year-old provided the right one, police corrected the mistake.

The 18-year-old Zachary Gutierrez is just relieved the mix-up was fixed before things got any stranger.

“I go downtown a lot, and we skate and I see a lot of the bike cops there. They’re really nice to me, so if one of them would have noticed like, ‘Hey man, we have your face on the news,’ and they would’ve taken me that day then a lot would’ve been bad,” he said.

KRQE News 13 did reach out to the family of the 16-year-old who ran away but did not hear back.

View the police department’s correction Facebook post below, or click here.

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