SALEM - Salem Police want help in finding a 14-year-old missing runaway girl who was reported last seen leaving Salem High School at 2:45 p.m. Monday.
Lacy Crowe, of East Third Street, was reported missing shortly after 3 p.m. by her parents, Les Crowe and Tamara Egolf, who said she went to school, but didn't come home after school.
According to video surveillance at the high school on East Sixth Street, she was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt which possibly says Fox and a pair of checked pajama pants while carrying a backpack. She's 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and has brown eyes and long straight brown hair.
"We don't suspect that she was abducted," Det. Brad Davis said, noting she's been entered as a missing runaway. She appeared to be walking toward North Union Avenue, but hasn't been reported seen by anyone since then.
Chief J.T. Panezott said these type of cases are normally resolved quickly, with the child either returning home or being found the same day at a friend's house, with another relative or by police. In this case, though, it's been three days and nobody's giving police any information on where she might be.
He said they've talked to everybody they know to contact regarding her whereabouts and now they're asking the public to help out.
"We believe she's hiding. Somebody knows where she is and if we find out somebody's hiding her and not bringing the information to us, they're going to be charged," Panezott said.
Charges could include contributing to the delinquency of a minor or interference with custody.
According to Davis, her parents reported she gave away some of her personal belongings to her siblings and had a bag packed that was found in a closet, but she apparently didn't come back for it. This also isn't the first time she's been reported missing. She was reported as a missing juvenile in the early morning hours of July 6 when her mother went to check on her and found she was gone.
Davis found her later that morning walking up North Ellsworth Avenue and then on 10th Street.
"Our ultimate goal is that she's returned home safely," Panezott said.
To date, the department has handled 23 runaway/missing cases and all of the missing persons were found, with the exception of Lacy so far.
Davis explained that no amber alert was issued because this case does not meet the criteria for an amber alert. They have no evidence that she was abducted, which is one of the criteria for the amber alert, which would put information out over the radio and television stations. He said the criteria is strict, with the amber alert limited to cases involving abducted children.
The list of criteria on the website at www.ohioamberplan.org includes:
- the abducted child must be under 18 years of age
- the abduction poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to a child
- a law enforcement agency determines the child is not a runaway and has not been abducted as a result of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the child
- there is sufficient descriptive information about the child, the abductor, and the circumstances surrounding the abduction to indicate that activation of the alert will help locate the child.
The website also listed tips for parents if their child is missing, with contacting police at the top of the list. Parents should provide the most recent color photograph of the child and other methods to identify the child, such as a physical description and what the child was wearing. Fingerprints, a hair sample and blood type could also be submitted.
Davis referred Lacy's parents to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and told them to also report her missing to that agency, which can help law enforcement and the parents with resources to assist with the search. Children can be reported missing to the toll-free hotline at 1-800-843-5678. Children should also be reported missing to the Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse in the state attorney general's office at 1-800-325-5604.
Panezott said they're following up every lead they get on this case. He also issued a message for Lacy, saying, "Please come home and contact your parents or contact us and we can work through it."
Anyone with information on Lacy's whereabouts should call the Salem Police at 330-337-7811.