We found a breakdown in a system set up to keep watch on troubled teens. This exposes a gap in the system to keep the kids and you safe.
Last month, a 13-year-old girl walked away from her home on the east side even though she wore an ankle bracelet.
She wears the ankle bracelet because she’s on probation with Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, but she hit the streets without the ankle monitor sparking any kind of alarm with the court.
The court admits it found out the girl had been gone for days only when her mother called to report it.
“She’s 13 years old. Something else needs to be put in place. Like, they need to move faster,” her mother said. “I can’t just throw her off and blame the court for every little thing, but I feel like, as a parent trying to keep their kid together, something else needs to be put in place.”
We wondered how a kid at home wearing an ankle bracelet could just walk away.
Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court tells us something like that should set off an alert and the court has people on staff watching the ankle monitors 24/7. The court has 75 kids on GPS monitoring.
But again, in this case, the court admits, “the youth’s mother reported that youth was AWOL for a few days.”
The court also said, “The youth would leave for the night at times and then come home as an ongoing pattern of conduct. We did not consider the youth AWOL and/or a threat until gone for a longer length of time. “
Cleveland police then put out a missing person bulletin asking for the public’s help. Eventually, that mother says she found her daughter and the teen ended up in the detention center.
We’ve requested to talk to someone from the court on camera about the ankle bracelet system and gaps we’ve now uncovered.
“Parents are asked to file a missing person’s report with their local police department. The court will generally file a capias request after 72 hours of the youth being missing from home,” the court also said by email. “The philosophy of the probation department is to maintain non-violent, low-risk youth in the community as much as possible. All the youth’s behaviors would be documented and reported to the courtroom for consideration in any further court dispositional or review hearing.”
Meanwhile, back in March, we revealed Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court arrest warrants out for 1,300 kids wanted in crimes dating back years. We saw an 11-year-old go on the run for months.
Weeks ago, Richmond Heights Police found a 15-year-old wanted for murder asleep in a car stopped in the middle of a busy road late at night.
The questions about the juvenile court ankle bracelet monitoring follows a recent I-Team report that showed more adult suspects in violent crimes also being released on GPS ankle bracelet monitoring.