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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Search goes on for teen missing three years

    Feb. 20–On Saturday, Rose Starnes gazed upon an age-enhanced photo of her daughter Yasmin Acree, no longer the 15-year-old who went missing three years ago but still wearing the same soft smile and dark eyes.

    It broke her heart.

    “”It’s a lot of times I wonder if Yasmin is still out here, but I just can’t give up hope,”” Starnes said, after seeing her little girl as an 18-year-old woman. “”It’s been much much too long.””

    Chicago police have been unable to locate Acree or figure out what happened to her since she disappeared from her home in January 2008. With Starnes at his side, Superintendent Jody Weis released the computer-generated image of Acree during a press conference Saturday at police headquarters.

    “”Our greatest strengths will be the tips that are generated from the community,”” Weis said, urging anyone with information to call police at 312-746-8365.

    Starnes, from Chicago’s West Side, praised the detectives on the case for doing everything they can to track down her daughter. But she accused the officers who first responded to her missing persons report of dismissing the case, initially failing to collect such crucial evidence as a basement door lock that had been snapped open with bolt cutters.

    “”The policemen who came out thought she was a runaway,”” Starnes said. “”Most runaways don’t stay gone long. But when somebody is abducted, it’s different.””

    With help from a group of West Side ministers, Starnes undertook her own missing person search. The Leaders Network continues to offer up to $6,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case or Acree’s return.

    A year later, police admitted to mishandling the case. An Internal Affairs Division letter to Starnes acknowleded that there was misonduct in the investigation.

    “”I suspect that’s a good deal of the reason why police are being vigilant now,”” said Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church.

    Weis said Saturday that police never assume a missing youth is a runaway.

    “”We never thought of her as a runaway,”” he said. “”I think that would be insulting to the parents and the family to say, ‘Well your child ran away. We don’t care.””‘

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