UPDATED 1:43 p.m. – per interview with South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper
ST. GEORGE – Two teens, Oceia Grainger and Kade Shearer, both 15, of Toquerville and La Verkin, Utah, respectively, who went missing on Sept. 29 have been found in Aberdeen, South Dakota – one of the areas identified on Oct. 4 as possible destinations to which the teens might be headed.
The Shearers received a telephone call this morning around 9 a.m. from a state trooper with the South Dakota Highway Patrol notifying them that the teens had been found and were in custody.
Deb Shearer texted Shirlz McArthur, mother of Oceia Grainger, with the news and McArthur, herself, received a call from the trooper shortly thereafter.
“All we know is they were in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and (Kade) was driving over the center yellow line and that was called in,” a relieved Deb Shearer said, “The police pulled him over and discovered the two inside were runaways and the vehicle had been stolen in Idaho.”
“All I know is they had a report on reckless driving and when they went and pulled Kade over, they found he was in a different stolen car – and they had been camping the whole way,” McArthur said.
Washington County Sheriff’s Detective Nate Abbott confirmed the mothers’ reports.
“We received word from Brown County, South Dakota, that (they) had been picked up by the Highway Patrol. It was called in as a reckless driver and they were in a stolen vehicle,” Abbott said. “From what I was told, the vehicle they were stopped in had been reported stolen out of Idaho.”
“We just love ’em and we’re glad they’re found,” Deb Shearer said with audible emotion. Whatever happens next, Deb Shearer said they would be with them and support them and help them through whatever is going on. Shearer, choking and crying, said, “We’re really sorry for anyone they have wronged.”
“I’m just relieved that (Oceia’s) at least able to be warm,” McArthur said. “They told me when they found them they were cold and hungry.”
According to AccuWeather.com, temperatures in Aberdeen last night ranged from 24-28 degrees between 12 and 7 a.m.
The teens are in custody and subject to possible detention orders (the juvenile equivalent to adult warrants) in Utah, Idaho and South Dakota. Abbott said that typically the magistrates in the juvenile detention systems would coordinate efforts when multiple states are involved.
The parents have not been permitted to speak with the children yet and they don’t know what charges will be brought.
Possible charges may include vehicle thefts in Hurricane and Ephraim, Utah, and in Idaho for the vehicle they found driving, along with whatever charges South Dakota may bring.
McArthur said she was told she might need to wait until Monday to hear from the South Dakota state’s attorney.
Shearer took consolation in knowing that Kade and Oceia are safe and they are not going to hurt themselves or anyone else.
The parents still can only speculate on what motivated their teens to run away. Kade Shearer had gotten in some previous trouble and may have been running to avoid facing those charges.
But they hope that the community will welcome them home and be willing to support them as they work through the process of helping these kids.
Besides the fact that they were in a vehicle that been reported stolen when they were pulled over, Shearer said that news of them missing had been put out “on the wires” by everybody. “We had them listed in the missing and endangered websites, and the runaway teens websites, and on Facebook,” she said. The lookout worked as the trooper was able to identify them as runaways when he pulled them over.
South Dakota Highway Patrol confirmed the teens were there in custody.
UPDATE 1:43 p.m.
St. George News spoke with South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Rick Olauson by telephone. He confirmed the circumstances of finding Oceia and Kade, as reported in this story. He said on receiving a vehicle driving complaint, he responded to a rural area in Brown County and was able to locate the vehicle and make contact with the juveniles.
The vehicle had been reported as stolen out of Adams County, Idaho. The Highway Patrol determined the teens as runaways through the NCIC computer system – National Crime Information Center, an FBI computerized index which includes information on missing persons, among other things.
As to the teens’ condition, the trooper said they are fine, that they seemed to be in good health, they were clean. He also said that on first impression they hadn’t eaten, but they had been eating. “We found a bunch of food items in the vehicle,” he said.
“They don’t seem like bad kids,” Olausen said, “they’ve been cooperative with me, we got them in (the juvenile detention center), they are safe, they are in a warm environment, they’ve got clothing, food, shelter – they’ll be fine until we can get them returned home.”
Olausen said there are charges pending in his jurisdiction. He was not at liberty to say what charges might be brought in South Dakota as he is still doing his investigation. He said he was sure they will be returned home to Utah.
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