Mother of missing boy feared to be in extreme danger tells him: ‘I know that you’re mad and confused’
By Andrea Blanco and Gustaf Kilander,2023-03-21
The mother of a missing 14-year-old boy has made a public plea for his safe return.
Scottie Morris was last seen around 8.30pm on 16 March when he is believed to have run away from his home in Eaton, Indiana. Local police have said the minor, who was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts despite freezing temperatures, is in extreme danger and may require medical assistance.
Search crews and residents in the town of 1,500 have combed the area at least four times without any success so far. The search was suspended on Tuesday as investigators regroup on next steps. Eaton Police Chief Jay Turner said rescue teams had used every resource available, including helicopters and boats, and are now running out of reasonable places to look for Scottie, The Star Press reported.
On Monday, Scottie’s mother Felicia Morris made a public plea for her son to return home.
“Scott, I love you and I want you to come home,” Ms Morris told WTHR as she broke down in tears. “I know you are mad and confused and I’m afraid you’re scared with all of this. Everyone is looking out for you, we’re not trying to scare you. You’re not in trouble.”
She added: “If you’re in a house and they come to you and you don’t want to go out because it’s the cops, reach out. Me and dad will come get you. I love you and I just want you to come home. I need to know that you’re safe.”
Mr Turner said Scottie’s parents are fully cooperating with the investigation. The chief said that they’ve been given polygraph tests but did not disclose the reason why or the results, according to the Star Press .
Scottie left his family home reportedly after a conflict unfolded with his parents. When he went missing last week, police shared a picture of him wearing a white shirt with writing on it referring to the minor as a “liar”.
The department later explained in a post that it was the only photo provided to them in the immediate aftermath of Scottie’s disappearance.
“We are very sorry the post seemed as if we were trying to shame him in anyway, as that would NEVER be our intent,” the statement read.
“Placing that photo on social media was in no way an attempt to embarrass or humiliate him ... [o]ur only concern is that we find Scottie safely and then go from there with our investigation.”
A silver alert states that the teen is “5 foot 4 inch tall, 150 pounds,” has “brown hair with blue eyes,” and that he was “last seen wearing black shoes, red and black shorts and a white T-shirt with writing on the front”.
The Eaton Indiana Police Department began its search on the night of 16 March and issued a missing person alert the following morning.
On Friday, the local police department wrote on Facebook that “we currently have over 100 volunteers out searching for Scotty Morris, which is so amazing and we are very grateful!”
They added that they had two boats in a rover in the area and were also using two infrared drones, in addition to two bloodhound units having been sent in from Grant County.
On Sunday, the department said they would not be organising a search party “because we will have helicopters from the Indiana State Police using their infrared cameras. We ask that if you continue to search on your own today, please refrain from wooded areas, tree lines, rivers, etc as this will only hinder the investigation while they’re in the air searching”.
Later on Sunday, the police said a regular search on foot would resume at 9am on Monday morning and asked volunteers to meet at the police station.
When Scottie was last spotted, he was walking east on Indiana Avenue, close to Mar Fran Court in Eaton, according to WTHR .
Chief Turner said on Saturday it was “all hands on deck” and residents in the area came and joined the search efforts.
“What they did today was very tremendous,” Mr Turner told WTHR. “They went out into a thick wood line area next to a river, both sides of the river, and walked somewhat of a line completely for two and a half miles.”
“We are a small department,” the chief said. “We have four regular officers and 18 reserves. Our reserves and our regulars volunteered their time to come in and do these searches. I’m very pleased how we came together — fire department, EMS, police department.”
Police said finding him soon is vital as temperatures plummet.
“I want this young man to know we are not here to make sure he’s in trouble. We want to help him and make sure he’s safe,” Mr Turner said.
“We’ve taken this seriously from the very beginning, and we’re going to continue to investigate until we find him,” he added.
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