SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Springfield police are asking why it took them two days to learn about the teen who escaped from the John Serbu Youth Detention Center earlier this month.
“Agencies sometimes have a breakdown in communication. Certainly Springfield has had that problem as well,” said Lieutenant Scott McKee with the Springfield Police Department. “In this case, the breakdown resulted in two days where this kid was on the lam and nobody was really looking for him.”
The teen escaped from center on Sept. 9. McKee said 11 days later, police were able to catch the 15-year-old after they found him at a homeless camp near 28th Street and Commercial Avenue.
In newly-obtained documents, staff reported the escape the day it happened, saying the teen stole an ID badge from a staff member, climbed up on the roof and jumped off.
While the Oregon Youth Authority issued a warrant for the teen's arrest on the same day, a spokeswoman with the Eugene Police Department said a formal police report was not filed until two days later. That police report was shared with Springfield police.
“Under the perfect circumstances, law enforcement collaborates to try to locate somebody whether they are juvenile or an adult when they escape from custody,” McKee said.
Jim Davis, who lives near where the teen was found, said he’s wondering why residents weren’t told to be on the lookout.
“I grew up around this area, and I know if you get to know the people and hang out with the right group, you can hide in plain sight,” Davis said.
A spokesman for the Oregon Youth Authority said the teen has been transported to a youth correction facility in Woodburn and is facing additional charges for the escape.
A Lane County spokesman said staff at Serbu are doing an internal review to find out what went wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again.
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