Teen Goes Missing After Being Pictured in Shirt Calling Him 'Liar,' Police Are Baffled
The search has been called off for a 14-year-old boy who apparently went missing while wearing a T-shirt covered with handwritten messages calling him a “liar” and a “cheat.”
Scottie Dean Morris “is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance,” according to a silver alert issued by police in Eaton, Indiana, which is just north of Muncie and about 75 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
The boy was last seen Thursday around 8:30 p.m., wearing black shoes, red and black shorts, and a white T-shirt with writing on the front, according to the announcement.
“We’ve [searched] the entire town at least four times,” Police Chief Jay Turner told the Indianapolis Star Press. “We’ve done all the outskirts, we [searched] both the north and south sides of the [Mississinewa River].
“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.”
Deputy Police Chief Chris Liggett recorded a video statement on Monday saying that the search effort would be suspended.
Officials are hoping the boy sought shelter from the cold weather in a vacant local home, according to the Star Press. “Schools are on spring break, and some families are on vacation this week,” the outlet reported.
The boy’s mother issued a tearful statement on WTHR-TV that was also shared on the Eaton Police Department Facebook page.
“Scott, I love you and I want you to come home,” Felicia Morris said. “I’m afraid that you’re scared of all this. Everyone is out looking for you and we’re not trying to scare you. You’re not in trouble. … I love you and I just want you to come home. I need to know that you’re safe.”
“To squash some rumors that we’re hearing” on social media, Liggett said in the video statement that the police are not investigating a crime scene.
He said hundreds of people had participated in the search but added that “we have no new leads, no new information. … We’re kind of at a standstill right now.”
The police department’s first Facebook post announcing Scottie’s disappearance drew a public outcry over a photo showing the sad-faced boy wearing the shirt proclaiming “I’m a liar” and other critical phrases, according to the New York Post.
The department later cropped the shirt out of the photo and issued another Facebook post publicly apologizing to the missing youngster.
“That was the ONLY photo that EPD was given to display and was quickly posted in an effort to help find Scottie ASAP,” the post explained.
“We are very sorry the post seemed as if we were trying to shame him in anyway, as that would NEVER be our intent.”
Liggett explained that the boy’s severely short haircut was not part of a punishment, as the accusatory T-shirt apparently was. Rather, it had been done at a hair salon some days prior at Scottie’s request.
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