Salt Lake police want public's help in finding missing teenager
Salt Lake City Police Department
SALT LAKE CITY — Police are asking for the public's help in locating a missing teenager who her father says has medical issues and could be at risk.
Mharina Acciaio, 16, was dropped off at City Creek Center on Tuesday about 11 a.m. She was expected home by 8 p.m. but never arrived, according to police.
Her father, Thomas Acciaio, said his daughter is bipolar and functions at the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. He said she needs to take medication twice a day.
"I'm just really worried about her," he said. "I know she's a danger to herself right now. When she doesn't have her medication, she does very risky things."
The teen was dropped off at the mall by the Division of Child and Family Services. She is not in state custody, but DCFS offers voluntary services of families at their homes.
In this case, a parent gave permission for DCFS to drive Mharina from her house to nearby City Creek. DCFS spokeswoman Liz Sollis said her department would not have dropped her off alone if they believed it would put her safety at risk.
"If we felt it would put her at risk or they wouldn't have the ability to get around, then we would not have done it, even with permission," she said. "Their safety is our first priority. Our only role on that time on that day was provide the child a ride and drop them off downtown."
Thomas Acciaio said his daughter walks back and forth between their house and the mall frequently.
Police said the teen does have a history of running away. The last time, she was gone for three days before she was located. Investigators did not suspect foul play Thursday.
The girl is familiar with the downtown Salt Lake area and has been known to frequent the library, shopping malls and use public transportation, according to police.
Mharina is 5-foot-2 and has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black tank top, black sweat pants and pink flip-flops. Anyone who sees her can call police at 801-799-3000.
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