‘Police are handcuffed’ in search for teen accused of murder, escape

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

ST. LOUIS – The search for a teenager accused of murder and then escaping juvenile detention has hit a dead-end road and police say their hands are tied.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Robert Tracy said Missouri law does not allow him to release the name or photo of the 17-year-old who escaped the juvenile detention center on February 3.

“If I had my way and the law did not prohibit me, we should put the picture out there,” Tracy said. “I don’t make some of the rules, but I do have to follow them, and some of them might be unpopular.”

Police sources tell the FOX Files that the teenager escaped from a parking garage by rolling under the security gate. A K9 also found his shirt.

The 17-year-old is charged with second-degree murder but has not been charged as an adult. He’s been in custody since December 8, after investigators said he shot and killed a 20-year-old in October.

Thanks for signing up!

Watch for us in your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Breaking News

“The murder charges might be there, but he’s still considered a juvenile and therefore the rules are in place—that has to be changed in the state legislature,” Tracy said.

St. Louis University Law Professor Anders Walker said there are few exceptions to juvenile privacy laws, unless there’s a court order and a judge approves. Walker said in a case like this, laws can actually jeopardize public safety.

“The police are handcuffed,” Walker said. “It’s not just a tough situation; it could be a tragic situation. Let’s say someone gets hurt and there’s good reason to think this was a dangerous offender, then it’s going to be very bad.”

In Jefferson City, House Majority Leader St. Rep. John Patterson (R-Lee’s Summit) said it’s something that should be looked at.

“You have to definitely protect the privacy and safety of a child but if they are wanted for murder and you can prevent another murder, then I think it’s something we can look at,” Patterson said.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX 2.