Police have told NBC News that ‘several’ of the dozen-plus missing teens in Washington D.C. have been found, as social media discussions have raised the profile of the missing teen problem in the nation’s capital.
On Wednesday, NBC News reported that three teens — Demetria Carthens, 17; Heaven Shamte, 15; Rayna Gross, 16; and Dashann Wallace, 15 — are among those previously reported missing who are now reported safe.
Shamte has been reported both missing and found, in some cases on the same day, in multiple reports over the last few days, though the NBC News report is the most recent. On Monday, Fox DC reported that the 15-year-old had disappeared after voluntarily leaving home on Saturday, adding that she had previously left home and returned.
As Crime Online noted earlier this week, it appears that some of the teens reported missing in D.C. so far this year — over 500 since January 1 — have been so-called “runways,” some who have voluntarily left home because of unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
Two teens have come forward to the media since being reported among the critical missing to say they weren’t really missing at all — they just weren’t living in the same place, or any place. One, who spoke to WUSA9 but declined to be identified, said she had been sleeping in a laundry room of an apartment building after fleeing her foster home, claiming she was being mistreated.
Another, Vaneshia Weaver, said she had not reported to a new group home as previously scheduled because space was not yet available. But she went to live with her father temporarily because she did not want to stay in her previous group home any longer.
“I wanted to get out of my old home as soon as possible,” Weaver told WUSA9. “It had mice, roaches, and was just unsanitary.”
Earlier this week, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced six new initiatives to combat D.C.’s missing and runaway teen problem. Among them is the Missing Persons Evaluation and Reconnection Resources Collaborative, which will work to identify problems that cause teens to leave voluntarily and put resources towards improving living conditions.
Photo: Police handout