Disturbing Scottie Morris detail spotted in t-shirt photo as mystery deepens over 14-year-old boy’s disappearance
By Forrest McFarland,2023-03-20
POLICE have apologized for posting a photo of a missing boy wearing a t-shirt with an eerie message that deemed him a "liar," sparking an online outcry.
Scottie Dean Morris, 14, fled his family home in Eaton, Indiana, at about 8.30pm on Thursday after a fight broke out.
A massive search of law enforcement professionals, emergency responders, and over 100 volunteers was launched the following two days, but there's sadly been no sign of the missing boy.
He is believed to be in “extreme danger” according to a missing person alert put out by Indiana state police.
Eaton police initially released the strange photo of the middle schooler in an effort to find him as soon as possible, Chief Jay Turner said in a statement.
Scottie appears to be visibly upset while wearing a white t-shirt with the word "liar" written out front, local Gannet affiliate The Star Press reports.
Turner said it was the only photo given to them, and apologized on behalf of the department for any misleading effects it might have had.
"When posting Scottie was not in trouble with the department, we meant we were here to help him and it is the intent of every Officer to find him safely," Turner wrote.
Officials wished to notify the public about his disappearance as soon as possible as he escaped the home and ran out into a chilly night in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, the captain clarified.
Scottie's parents have been questioned and were investigated using a polygraph test, Turner said.
He didn't confirm whether or not they were suspects, and said officials are "looking elsewhere."
Search parties combined forces to comb the small town of 1,500 people on Friday and Sunday.
"It's unbelievable the way the community has come together," Turner said.
On-ground searches were temporarily stopped on Sunday so Indiana State Police in helicopters could scan the area with infrared cameras.
Professional grid searches were set to restart on Monday.
Scottie has been described as a "very nice young man" by those who know him at Delta Middle School where he is a student.
Police have also never had any issues with the boy before.
Schools are currently out on spring break, and officials are hoping the boy could be hiding inside a vacant home while people are on vacation, Turner said.
"I realize that it is easy to jump to conclusions and comment on social media that everything is being handled wrong," Turner wrote in the statement.
"Thank you for all the calls of concern, we are investigating every aspect of this incident to make sure Scottie is safe and helping him in the future."
Scottie is described as five feet four inches tall and wearing 150 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.
He was last seen wearing black shoes, red and black shorts, and a white T-shirt with writing on the front.
EPD urged local residents with doorbell or security cameras to check their footage in a Facebook post on Sunday.
They have also appealed to Morris directly.
"Scottie, if you see this, please know we are doing everything we can do to get whatever help you may need & to make sure you are safe and warm. Your safety is our main priority," they said in a Facebook post.
Anyone with information that could lead to his recovery is asked to contact the Eaton Police Department.
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