SCOTCH PLAINS — When Janet Dillon found a note from the man she considers her son earlier this month, saying he had left to find a rehab facility to deal with his drug addiction, she feared the worst.

Her concerns were shared by those around the state and beyond, when she took to social media to say 27-year-old Billy Hannam had gone missing. He isn't her biological son, but had been living with her family for several months.

“This past Friday I came home to a note saying he had relapsed and he was going to find help, find a rehab facility,” she said at the time. “That didn’t match up with what I saw here. He hadn’t taken his phone charger, he hadn’t taken his book. I don’t even think he had a jacket. If he had been truly seeking a rehab facility he would have been prepared for that.”

Less than two weeks later, hearing his voice and knowing that he was actually on his way to get help brought on a huge sense of relief. How Hannam started his journey to a facility in Florida is not entirely clear, even to Dillon, who said she spoke to her son for the first time on Monday night.

She said as far as she can tell, at some point after he left home on Dec. 1, he took a train to Washington, D.C., from Newark. From there, she said, someone he met told him there was a missing persons report on him. Dillon said Hannam called the police this past Friday to say he was not missing, and they did a welfare check to ensure he was safe.

The police then called the authorities in Scotch Plains, where the report had been filed, and they told her he was found and safe.

"That was good news because we knew he was alive," she said. "It brought the worry down a notch, but it didn't alleviate the worry."

It would be another few days before Hannam called her to apologize for the way he had left, and to tell her where he was going next, Dillon said. Hannam will be entering a rehab program where he is expected to stay for more than two months, she said.

"I'm feeling relief that he's getting the help he so desperately needs," she said.

Dillon said she was concerned when she found the note that Hannam would attempt to kill himself.

Dillon said he will have plenty of work ahead of him when he gets home.

"It's not about us, but he hurt so many people that love him. He hurt them deeply," she said. "He did damage that's irreparable with some of his relationships."

Still, she said she plans to visit him at the facility in Florida after a month or so, once he has settled and the emotions of the past few days have calmed. She said when he does finish the rehab program, she will welcome him back with open arms.

"There's nothing your child could do that would ever make me turn him away, ever," she said. "He's got to own his own actions and their consequences."

Dillon said she is glad to have answers, with hopes of more good news to come. She said she is looking forward to moving forward with her life knowing that he is safe and getting the help he needs.

"I don't know how much confidence I have that he will stay clean. Not because he's Billy, but because meth is an insidious poisonous addiction," she said. "I have confidence he'll come through this. I hope and pray that'll be it, but I'm realistic that it might not be."

Dillon said she was thankful for all the support she has gotten, as she waited to hear about Hannam's whereabouts.

"I am just overwhelmed by the number of people that love Billy and that care about him and that wanted to help him," she said.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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