Two of four teens who fled Draper youth center have been located, police say

Published: Wednesday, March 5 2014 9:25 a.m. MST

Police are looking for three teens and one man who left the Genesis Youth Center, a residential facility for troubled teens, despite a court order.

KSL

DRAPER — Police have located two young men who ran away from a youth center and believe their remaining two companions may be in Salt Lake County.

The group of four ran away from the Genesis Youth Center, 14178 S. Pony Express Drive, shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday. Officials believe they may have obtained a vehicle to assist with their departure, according to Elizabeth Sollis from the Utah Department of Human Services.

Officers located 18-year-old Jesse Hopkins of Vernal and a 17-year-old boy in Orem Wednesday night. Police believe 16-year-old Tanner Christensen of Draper and 15-year-old Miguel Hernandez of Sandy may be in Salt Lake County and are asking anyone who has seen them to contact law enforcement.

The Genesis Center is a facility that houses teens who have been ordered by a judge to live, eat, attend school and perform community service for an average of 60 to 90 days. The center is supervised, but the building is not secure.

Law enforcement, the teens' families and their caseworkers are aware they are missing.

Law enforcement looked into reports that youth "wearing green clothing" were spotted on a freeway, Sollis said.

"They're kids, and they're kids who've been in trouble in the past. That is why they were at the youth facility," she said.

"It's been cold for several hours. When they left, they didn't have many belongings. So if they haven't connected with family, then they are without a lot of means," Sollis said. "They could become desperate and might put some people at risk. So really our concern is community safety and the youths' safety."

The teens were wearing basketball shoes and dark green sweatshirts and shorts, except for one who was wearing dark green sweatpants.

The young men may be heading toward family members who live in Sandy, Draper, Lehi and Vernal, she said.

An on-call judge issued warrants for the teens' arrests late Tuesday night because they escaped from a court-ordered program. Anyone who sees the teens are asked to call 911.

Contributing: Haley Smith

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

Twitter: whitevs7

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