Missing Riverside teen returns home

A 16-year-old Riverside girl who was reportedly missing for two weeks has returned home, though police so far have few answers on where she’s been since disappearing on March 24.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel confirmed that the girl returned home, unharmed, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, about 12 hours after Riverside police issued a bulletin to the press that she was missing.

According to Weitzel, the girl saw news reports about her disappearance — which got wide play on Chicago and local news media sites on Saturday (the Landmark’s Facebook post about it was shared 157 times) — and decided to go home.

Police interviewed the girl after she returned home, but she has not cooperated, said Weitzel.

“At this point, the juvenile is refusing to tell investigators where she has been for the last week,” said Weitzel on April 4 just after 10 p.m. “We will continue to follow up with the family and attempt to get more information as to her whereabouts.”

The girl’s mother called police on March 24 about 9:30 p.m. to report her daughter missing. The girl had been visiting her father, who lives on the Southwest Side of Chicago. But the girl’s father called her mother about 9 p.m. on March 24, saying she sneaked out window and was missing.

Two days later, someone posted a note on Facebook that the girl, who is a student at Riverside-Brookfield High School, was OK. Police sent out a missing person bulletin to area police agencies at that time but did not notify the media until last weekend.

“While the missing juvenile has reached out on social media accounts to friends saying that she is OK, both her mother and the Riverside Police Department have not been able to physically locate her or talk to her in person via telephone,” Weitzel said at the time the information was made public.

In the meantime, police attempted to locate the girl, who reportedly took her father’s cellphone from the Chicago home, leaving hers behind. Weitzel said the girl turned the phone off and on, making it difficult to track her.

Police also talked to the girl’s boyfriend multiple times, said Weitzel. However, he reportedly told police he did not know anything about the girl’s disappearance.


Leaf blowers stolen

  • A 48-year-old LaGrange businessman who rents space in a gated parking lot in the 9300 block of Southview Avenue, Brookfield, called police on April 3 to report that two trailers belonging to him had been burglarized.

According to the police report, the offenders cut through the chain-link fence and then broke the padlocks on the two trailers, which contained equipment for a landscaping business.

Among the items taken were four red Redmax blowers and two Stihl weed-whackers. The total value of the equipment was estimated to be $2,100.

  • The owner of a Broadview landscaping company contacted North Riverside police on March 31 about 10:10 a.m. to report that two Redmax backpack blowers had been removed from his 2001 Chevy 2500 pickup, which was parked  in the 2200 block of 18th Avenue from 9 to 10 a.m. The total value of the missing equipment was estimated to be $1,115.


Sex abuse charges dropped

A 20-year-old Cedarburg, Wisconsin man, suspected of forcing a 16-year-old Riverside girl to have sex with him over a two-year period, pleaded guilty on April 3 to one count of misdemeanor battery during a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse in Maywood. Nine other charges of criminal sexual abuse were dropped.

Judge Ann Finley Collins sentenced the man to 24 months’ probation, ordered him to have no contact with the victim and fined him $754. Police said the plea agreement was discussed with the victim and her parents before it was accepted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.


Woman ordered to pay $500 to RBHS

A 50-year-old Cicero woman whose son was removed from Riverside-Brookfield High School because she used fraudulent documents to enroll him in the fall of 2014 will have to pay the school $500 after pleading guilty on April 3 to one count of fraudulently enrolling a student.

In addition, Judge Ann Finley Collins sentenced the woman to six months’ court supervision and $279 in court fines. She has six months to pay the $500 to the high school.

School officials removed the boy from the school and turned over the fake documents to police, who charged her on Feb. 25.


These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, March 30 to April 5, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

—    Compiled by Bob Uphues