Family of missing girl meets with CPD chief

September 17, 2009 3:20:49 PM PDT
The family of a missing teenager met with Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis Thursday. Yasmin Acree disappeared more than a year-and-a-half ago. Her family believes police hampered efforts to find her. Police officials have admitted there was misconduct while investigating the case.

And it is those mistakes that the family of Yasmin Acree says cost precious time and effort in finding the teen. Thursday, the girl's family asked Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis to reclassify the case and have detectives investigating the Yasmin's disappearance, not treat her as a runaway, but as a missing person who was kidnapped.

Surrounded by supporters, Rose Starnes left Chicago Police Department headquarters Thursday afternoon still hoping her daughter will come home safe.

"Yasmin, if you can hear me, give me a call and let us know you are ok and alive," said Starnes.

Starnes and several West Side clergy had a nearly two-hour meeting with police superintendent Jody Weis, which comes as a sometimes frantic 20-month search for the girl continues and after a ruling by the CPD's internal affairs division that officers botched efforts to find Yasmin.

"She was instantly classified as a runaway. From our standpoint, runaways don't break locks, nor do they break doors," said Rev. Cy Fields, Leader's Network of West Side Clergy.

On January 15, 2008, the family of the then-15-year-old Austin Polytechnical Academy high school student says she went to the Austin YMCA before returning home later that evening. They say they last saw Yasmin doing laundry in the basement where her room was also located.

The next morning, Yasmin was gone -- the only clue to what happened was a broken lock and a damaged outside door.

"We don't know if this case could have had an earlier resolution that we don't have today," said Rev. Marshall Hatch, New Mt. Pilgrim Church.

The family remains concerned that the home wasn't treated like a crime scene and neither the door nor broken lock was dusted for fingerprints.

Thursday, Weis acknowledged that mistakes were made but still believes in the integrity of the investigation, and in a statement says: "This is the highest priority missing person case for Area 5 detectives. All of us share the family's desire to find Yasmin Acree".

Still, an outpouring of support from the community have brought few leads.

Yasmin's relative, the Reverend Ira Acree, maintains Yasmin was abducted and wants whoever has her to let her go.

"There's no apartment, no job, there has to be an adult somewhere harboring her," said Rev. Acree.

The pastors say Superintendent Weis did assure them, if warranted, the police officers involved would be disciplined for their mishandling of the case.

This week, the reward for information about the teen's disappearance was raised from $3,000 to $5,000.

The girl's family and friends are asking anyone with information about the whereabouts of Yasmin Acree to call (773) 745-6052.


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