Oct. 23, 2008 -- Two Missouri families, desperate with worry and fear, are searching for their teenage children who apparently left a high school football game together nearly a week ago and haven't been seen since.
An Amber Alert has been issued for Christina "Paige" Alley, 14, who police think may be with boyfriend Levi Carlson, 16, in Levi's stepmother's missing maroon 1996 Toyota Avalon.
Levi's family fears the catalyst for the disappearance might be a series of tragedies in his life, from his grandfathers' death and sister's miscarriage last month to a violent fight he had with his father that landed Levi's stepmother in the hospital.
His father, Denny Carlson, told ABCNews.com today that Levi had been angry and questioning his relationship with God.
"We want him to come home where we can love him. We can get through anything as a family," Carlson told ABCNews.com.
According to a Web site set up by Paige's family after the dissappearence, Levi is "known to be bipolar and off his meds."
Levi's father confirmed his son's condition, adding that his son hated the "bipolar" label.
The Clinton County Sheriff's Department tried to get an Amber Alert issued shortly after the teens disappeared Friday, Maj. John Farmer said, but the department was told by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that the case didn't meet the criteria since there was no proof that either teen had been abducted.
"Originally, we though it could have been just a runaway deal," Farmer said.
But after pressure from the Alley family, the alert was issued earlier this week. For that to happen, Levi had to be formally named a suspect in Paige's disappearance.
But Farmer pointed out that no one really knows where the two are or what they are doing. Still, as more time goes by without a credible lead and with the added information about Levi's being off his medications and his scuffle with his dad, police are becoming increasingly concerned about Paige's safety.
"It's still all speculation," he said.
Paige's father, Jeff Alley, who says he now chases down every maroon car he sees on the road, said he's always considered Levi to be a "decent kid" but thinks that Paige would have contacted her family if she'd had the opportunity.
"She's 14 years old and she's with a boy that stole a car," Alley said. "Yes, I think she's in danger."
Paige, according to both police and her father, was always very good about staying in close contact with her family.
"I don't think it looks good," Farmer said. "It really doesn't."
Levi is not currently facing any charges.
Alley said that his daughter, a passionate musician who played four instruments, had been at the Lathrop High School football game for a band performance last Friday evening when she started getting calls from Levi.
Alley said Paige's friends told him they told the police that "she was getting very agitated" during Levi's calls during the football game and that Levi had said he was considering suicide.
At halftime, Paige asked her band director if she could be excused early. He gave her the keys to the band room, where she went to change into street clothes.
A janitor later found the keys on the floor near the band room door, Alley told ABCNews.com. Paige's flute, piccolo, band uniform and cell phone were later found inside the band room. Alley said students at the game reported seeing the couple, who had been dating for several weeks, walking around the track together.
Alley says he called police after he went to pick his daughter up from the game and couldn't find her. Carlson says he called police shortly after, when he returned home from visiting his wife in the hospital and found her car missing.
Neither teen has a driver's license.
Carlson said that he and Levi, a junior and volunteer firefighter, had gotten into a shoving match at home two days earlier after their minister reported that Levi had recently been disruptive with his questions about God during a youth group church meeting.
During the fight, the two damaged a wall and, after police were called, emergency workers brought Carlons' wife, Kathy Carlson, to the hospital with chest pains.
Doctors later determined she'd had a heart attack caused by stress.
"He just kept saying over and over, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" Carlson said of Levi's reaction later in the hospital. "I said, 'Son, we can get through this together -- as a family.'"
Nuturing a Friend in Need
Alley said his daughter is "a helper, the type that wants to nurture everybody" -- a sentiment echoed by Levi's father.
Like Paige, Levi was an enthusiastic guitar player, and Carlson said his electric guitar, but not an amplifier, had been taken from the home. Alley said Paige appears to have her purse with her and a Stephen King book she was reading.
The Web site says authorities believe Levi may try to pawn his guitar for money on the road.
Runaway or Captive?
Alley said he allowed his daughter to date Levi, whose class ring she kept on a chain around her neck, because the two attended different high schools and typically only saw each other at church-related activities. The families have known each other for years and are cooperating with each other now, trying to bring their children home.
Still, both parents issued pleas to their children.
"Come home if you can," Alley said, urging his daughter to do anything she can to call or send an e-mail home.
Carlson said of his son, his voice cracking: "He's just a hurt kid that made a really, really bad decision."