ST. GEORGE — Four Washington City teens reported as runaways, including the 16-year-old allegedly assaulted at Crimson Cliffs High School recently, were found early Friday morning after a digital trail led officers to the parking lot of a motel more than 350 miles away.
The teens were located in Blythe, California, a city in Riverside County approximately 200 miles east of Los Angeles, by officers with the Blythe Police Department shortly after 4 a.m. on Friday.
Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz told St. George News that all four youths have been safety returned to their families.
Three of the teens were reported as runaways and were believed to be traveling together. One of teens was the victim of an alleged assault that took place in the parking lot of Crimson Cliffs High School earlier this month.
The fourth teen found with the group was also a runaway from Washington City, Klotz said, but was not believed to be connected to the other three until they were discovered in the pickup truck together.
The search in Blythe began after one of the parents received an alert that one of the teens’ credit cards was used at a gas station nearby, and the parents notified the Blythe Police Department.
Officers in Blythe began scouring the area in search of the group when they found a pickup truck matching the description of the one the youths were traveling in. The truck was parked behind a local motel.
Klotz said that several of the parents had already traveled to California after the teens ran away and had followed the trail of credit card purchases, updating authorities in that particular area as they continued through California.
It wasn’t until the purchase at the gas station in Blythe that authorities were able to locate the youths.
The Washington City Police Department has spent the last two days following up on multiple leads since Wednesday evening when the teens were reported as runaways, Klotz said, adding that to have all four safety returned to their parents is a “great outcome.”
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