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Authorities look for two missing teens

Police confirm boys left JYC custody; state custodians mum

Posted: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Law enforcement officials are searching for two teenage boys that escaped Friday evening from the Johnson Youth Center.

The juvenile detention center contacted the Juneau Police Department at late Friday to tell them a 16- and a 17-year-old boy were trying to escape, Sgt. Dave Campbell said.

"Within a minute we were told they were able to leave," he said.

Police searched spots the teenagers have been known to frequent, Campbell said.

"They still haven't been found yet," he said Monday evening. "There has been an officer all day long going to different locations and trying to find them and that has been unsuccessful at this point."

Authorities are not releasing the names of the teenagers due to confidentiality laws for juvenile offenders.

"We're not even confirming that there is an escape," said Clay Butcher, spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the facility.

Butcher was unable to say what crimes the teenagers were remanded for or whether or not they pose a threat to public safety.

"There's really nothing we can report to you because of confidentially reasons," he said.

It is also unclear how the juveniles were able to leave the facility. Speaking generally, Butcher said its residents have varying degrees of freedom.

"Kids come in and out all the time," he said. "Some kids stay at the facility and have jobs outside, go to school, there are all kinds of arrangements."

There are certain procedures officials take when a juvenile leaves the facility "without a pass," Butcher said. Those include contacting the police, airport, ferry system and parents as well as issuing a warrant.

"Any time a juvenile is out of the facility without a pass we do the same procedures," he said.

The teenagers could potentially face new charges if they did indeed escape from the facility, Campbell said.

Authorities haven't confirmed a connection, but the police have posted on the missing persons section of its Web site that two teenagers have been missing since Friday and were last seen in the "hospital area" - where JYC is located. The photos posted are mug shots with "Johnson Youth Center" written on them.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrisonat 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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