FOUND: 2 teenage girls run away from group home; public assistance requested

L-R: Charleene Cleary, 15, and Caroline Taylor, 15, missing from Hurricane, Utah, were FOUND in Hurricane, Sept. 13, 2015, | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE 9:50 p.m: Caroline Taylor and Charleene Cleary have been found, Olympus Academy Executive Director Nicole Hancock told St. George News Monday night. Hancock said:

The girls have been located, they were not too far away, they were in Hurricane; and of course we were afraid they’d been hitchhiking – but they were in Hurricane and we will be making decisions with the parents and law enforcement from here – and we’re so grateful and relieved that they are safe.

ST. GEORGE – Two teenage girls have gone missing from a residential treatment center in Hurricane Sunday night, and may be heading to their homes out-of state or elsewhere. Public assistance is requested in locating them.

The girls are residents of Olympus Academy, a residential treatment facility for youth near state Route 59 about 3 miles southeast of Hurricane.

Caroline Taylor, 15, missing from Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 13, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Kristi Taylor, St. George News
Caroline Taylor, 15, missing from Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 13, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Kristi Taylor, St. George News

Caroline Taylor, 15, is originally from Houston, Texas, and has been at the academy since July 9, her stepmother Kristi Taylor said.

Charleene Cleary, 15, is originally from Nebraska and has been at the academy for a longer time than Caroline Taylor, Olympus Academy Executive Director Nicole Hancock said.

The girls left the academy through a window around 10:30 p.m. Sunday and have not been seen since.

After searching and securing the premises, Hancock said, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was called for assistance.

The Sheriff’s deputy and supervisor first responded around 12:30 a.m. Monday, sheriff’s Det. Nate Abbott said.

Caroline Taylor – description provided by Kristi Taylor

  • Age: 15 years old
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Height: 5 feet, 4 inches
  • Weight: 120-130 pounds
  • Eyes: Blue | wears glasses – may be black thick trendy frames
  • Hair: Light brown-dark blonde | Longer than mid-back, most likely pulled back into a pony tail 

Charleene Cleary – description provided by Washington County Sheriff’s Det. Nate Abbott

  • Age: 15 years old
  • Race: Caucasian
  • Height: 5 feet, 2 inches
  • Weight: 136 pounds
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Hair: Blonde or sandy blonde hair
Charleene Cleary, 15, missing from Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 13, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office
Charleene Cleary, 15, missing from Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 13, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Caroline Taylor’s father, Thomas Taylor, and Kristi Taylor, were notified around 3 a.m., they said, and were told Caroline had reportedly said she was heading back to Texas, which made sense to her, Kristi Taylor said, as Caroline wanted to return to regular school in Texas.

“She told another student to tell the case manager to have all of her things mailed back to her house,” Kristi Taylor said, “that’s all I know, but no one knows even what way they even went.” 

Other students reported the girls were headed in other directions as well, Hancock said, so it’s hard to know how much weight to put on any of these reports because we have three conflicting stories, she said, and it’s very possible that these girls intentionally misdirected.

The girls have no cars, no phones, no money, Kristi Taylor said.

Information gathered from other students indicates the girls left with three water bottles, Hancock said, and student statements suggest one of the girls may have $5.

“I know Caroline is going to try to come home,” Kristi Taylor said. “I don’t think she has access to a phone yet because she hasn’t called me and she will usually call me if she is in trouble.”

Sheriff’s deputies and a supervisor took the initial report and collected information in the early hours Monday to get the girls listed in a national database, Abbott said, and searched the area around the school pretty thoroughly.

“In terms of our organization,” Hancock said, “we’ve had about 25-26 people – we’ve been driving and riding 4-wheelers and hiking. They picked a really bad night to run  the rains hit about 20 minutes after they left and so it’s muddy up here; it’s really hard to find good tracks and things like that. We’re just waiting and hoping for some lead to drop. But we’re not backing off on our search efforts by any stretch of the imagination.”

School staff have been working with sheriff’s deputies all day, Hancock said Monday afternoon, interviewing students and gathering as much information as possible.

The Sheriff’s Office is incredible,” Hancock said. “I can’t believe how quickly they had posters out and bulletins up. We’re exhausting every resource possible.”

In terms of search, Abbott said the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have a whole lot of options at this point.

“If we knew where they were out – which direction they were headed, if they headed to the road, where they are or where they’re headed – at this point, it’s hopefully, there will be some things that will turn up that will help us.”

Anyone with any information to help in locating these girls is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department

Telephone 435-656-6644

or dial 9-1-1

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Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic  @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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