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Blocked from Reaching U.S., Wandering Honduran Boy Returns Home

September 20, 1996

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ The 10-year-old Honduran who traveled 1,300 miles through three countries to look for his mother in the United States is back home.

But Elmer Javier Licona said on arrival at the Tegucigalpa airport Thursday night that he isn’t giving up.

``I am going to find my mother again in the United States because I don’t like living in Honduras. And I don’t want to be without my mom,″ he said.

The boy was found June 18 in Guadalajara, Mexico, trying to conceal himself in the wheel well of a plane destined for Los Angeles after leaving Honduras with no food or money. His mother, who adopted him when he was one day old, is reportedly living illegally in southern California.

U.S. officials denied Elmer permission to travel to Los Angeles. They had said he failed to meet several legal requirements, including one that he have a home outside the United States to which he was likely to return.

Elmer had been living with the family of a Mexican immigration official while his case was being decided.

Enrique Marquez, a journalist with Mexico’s Television Azteca, accompanied the boy on the flight home.

In the meantime, the boy plans to enter a Roman Catholic school in Tegucigalpa. He has big ambitions.

``I want to be a doctor ... and doctors can do what they want. They can save lives and they can travel everywhere,″ said Elmer.

Elmer’s mother left Honduras in 1994 to look for work in Los Angeles.

Elmer has said he fled Las Tejeras, a village 125 miles west of the capital of Tegucigalpa, because other members of his family didn’t want him.

He hitched rides through parts of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, often with truckers who gave him food.

An uncle has been located in Los Angeles; it is not known if the youth has an address for his mother.

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