Police suspend search for teen who went missing in bizarre ‘I hurt my brother’ T-shirt
By Olivia Land,2023-03-21
Police in Indiana are reportedly suspending the search for a teen they previously said was in “extreme danger” who went missing hours after being pictured in a bizarre T-shirt with handwritten messages reading “I’m a liar,” “I hurt my lil brother” and “cheat”.
Scottie Dean Morris, 14, of Eaton, was last seen around 8:30 p.m. local time on E Indiana Avenue on March 16.
A Silver Alert issued the following day said Morris – who was only wearing shorts and a white T-shirt when he vanished – is believed to be in “extreme danger” and “may require medical assistance.”
Speaking to The Star Press late Monday, Eaton Police Chief Jay Turner said that investigators were “coming to the end of the searches” for the teen after having exhausted all avenues.
“We’ve [searched] the entire town at least four times. We’ve done all the outskirts, we [searched] both the north and south sides of the [Mississinewa] river,” he told the outlet of the extensive search effort.
“We’ve had horses, we’ve had the helicopter with infrared, we’ve had a fixed-wing [Indiana State Police] helicopter, [the Department of Natural Resources] had boats in the water. We’ve pretty much exhausted everything we can looking in this area. Now we’re hoping for someone to call and give us a tip and we’ll move on that.”
In a Facebook update shared shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, Eaton Deputy Chief Chris Ligett said law enforcement would have a “multi-agency” meeting on Tuesday to determine next steps.
Ligett said that several interviews and polygraphs were conducted, but that police still had “no new leads or information” and were “at a standstill.”
Ligett also tried to quell some of the rumors surrounding the case on social media, most of which began after police shared the full-length photo of Morris where he looks upset while wearing a white T-shirt with the hand-written black ink messages, which included “cheat” underlined and a drawing of a crying face on Morris’s right shoulder.
The white shirt is believed to be the same t-shirt he wearing when he went missing.
Social media users speculated that the strange shirt coupled with Morris’ buzzed haircut could potenitally indicate abuse at home.
However, in Monday’s video statement Ligett noted Morris’ buzz cut was done at his request a few days before he disappeared.
Although acquaintances reportedly described Morris as “the sweetest” and “very polite,” Turner told The Star Press the teen tried to run away once in the past.
Turner also said there was no reason to believe the boy was being abused.
Morris’ mother, Felicia Morris, appeared on Indianapolis TV on Monday with a desperate message for her son.
“I love you and I just want you to come home,” she said tearfully.
In addition to his parents, Morris lives at home in Eaton with his three siblings, including a twin sister, The Star Press said.
In addition to extensive law enforcement efforts, the search for Morris drew volunteers from across the state.
“If it were my own kid, I would hope someone would come out and help me,” Curtis Little, of Albany, told The Star Press.
“This is somebody’s baby. We can do the second-guessing and that stuff later, we just need to find that young man.”
Thomas Frost, of Bloomington, told the outlet that he was inspired to help find Morris following the 2011 disappearance of Lauren Spierer, who has never been found, and the Delphi murders, where two teenage girls were found dead.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve been exposed to this kind of thing,” he lamented.
“Those two [cases] had horrible outcomes. And I want to help if possible avoid that.”
According to the official Silver Alert, Morris is 5 ‘4″ and 150 pounds with blue eyes. He was last seen wearing red and black shorts, a white t-shirt with writing on it, and black shows.
The Eaton Police Department did not immediately return The Post’s request for a comment.
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