Police admit misconduct in missing teen case

September 10, 2009 (CHICAGO) Yasmin Acree disappeared nearly two years ago.

Acree's relatives say they tried to convince investigators the 15-year-old girl was the victim of foul play, not a runaway.

Twenty months have now passed since Yasmin Acree disappeared from her South Austin home, taken sometime in the night, according to her family, a theory Chicago police appeared reluctant work with causing a delay in the investigation that her family now says might have led to her being found.

A mother with a lost child showed ABC7 where a lock was broken and a path to a basement bedroom door that was found open January 15, 2008.

Evidence of a forced entry that Rose Starnes says police ignored choosing tunnel vision instead by figuring the 15-year-old had run away from home.

"She never was a person who ran the streets, or anything like that, for childhood activities and things like that I had her going to the Y and she was always supervised and you know I knew she hadn't run off," said Starnes.

On Thursday, the Chicago Police Department's told Rose Starnes in a letter that they had indeed made a mistake. The CPD's internal affairs division wrote, "all evidence was evaluated, and it has been determined that misconduct on the part of the Department member(s) has been proven."

Pastor Ira Acree, the missing girl's uncle and a member of clergy-based group called the Leaders Network, sought a meeting on Thursday with police superintendent Jody Weis. His group had been rebuffed several times when they called into question the CPD's approach to the case.

"Our organization went over there with Rose Starnes and basically suggest that you guys have mishandled something, you've fumbled the ball here," said Pastor Ira Acree, Leaders Network. "The commander at that time told us we are very insulted."

The police superintendent made a distinction in his take on the matter.

"It appears that some officers made a mistake. We'll deal with that but I think it is safe to say that particular incident had no impact on the efforts of our detectives in locating that young lady," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Department.

The family says one of the broken locks was left at the home for three days before police forensics staff took it as evidence, and dusted the home for fingerprints.

A $3,000 reward has now been offered in the case for information leading to the whereabouts of Yasmin Acree. Anyone with information should call Area 5 detectives at 312-746-8365 or Pastor Ira Acree at 773-378-3300.

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