Teen escapee: Unidentified, even when on the lam
The teen inmate who escaped from custody at the Ivy rest area March 26 was apprehended on his 17th birthday– March 28– at Fashion Square Mall. The youth, who had been on his way to a behavioral treatment center in Missouri when he bolted from the bathroom on I-64, was picked up in the men’s department at Belk.
“He was located while we were investigating a shoplifting report,” says Lieutenant Todd Hopwood with Albemarle police.
The morning escape caused six Western Albemarle schools to lock their doors, and police never did release the boy's name nor his photograph. The 16-year-old Charlottesville resident with a history of breaking and entering was traveling to a behavioral facility in Nevada, Missouri, in the custody of three employees from Heartland Behavioral Health Center, says Virginia State Police Trooper Jason Day.
"They were trying to get him some help, and this facility had success with other juveniles," says Day, noting that the youth had been incarcerated locally at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center.
"They left Blue Ridge, and the boy started complaining he had to use the restroom," says Day, adding that the vehicle stopped at the rest stop near Crozet. The youth, who was not handcuffed, Day sayS, went inside, kicked out a window, and escaped while his escorts stood outside.
Police got the call at 8:10am, says Day, and decided to search Langford Drive near the Ivy exit off I-64 after a report from another teenager in that area. "A kid who goes to Western Albemarle High School said a black male came up to him and asked to use his cell phone," explains Trooper Day.
The rest stop escapee was described as 16-year-old black male wearing baggy jeans, a brown sweatshirt with yellow writing, a black hoodie, and black dress shoes.
Albemarle County Schools locked the exterior doors of Western Albemarle High, Henley Middle School, as well as Brownsville, Meriwether Lewis, and Murray elementaries. Parents were notified, but no press release to the public was issued, according to School spokesperson Maury Brown.
Despite concerns that escapees can turn dangerous and despite concerns that innocent black teens could be viewed suspiciously, authorities have released neither the juvenile's name nor his photograph.
"As a juvenile, we can't release a mugshot," says Virginia State Police spokesperson Corrine Geller, who remembers one occasion when two juveniles–- one with a history of violence–- overpowered a guard and escaped a facility in Powhatan. Police had to go to the attorney general a get an opinion before releasing his photo.
–updated upon capture
original headline: Teen inmate: Still at large, still unidentified