Three presumed missing juveniles classified as runaways
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Last week, The Valley Chronicle ran a story titled, “Three Hemet High School students missing.” Victoria Askari, 16, Clyde Murray, 14, and Melissa Murray, 16, were all reported missing around noon on Monday, Nov. 27.
Frantic, Askari’s parents and the Murrays’ aunt utilized all of their resources, creating flyers, Facebook posts, and even contacting the local press.
On Tuesday, Sgt. Ron Lawler of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department concluded that the three juveniles were most likely “not at-risk” runaways. No signs pointed toward foul play, however Askari’s cell phone was found abandoned outside of school grounds and turned in by a passerby, and her wallet, ID, and clothing were still at home.
According to the families, Victoria and Clyde hadn’t indicated any intentions of running away in the past; however Melissa had previously run away from home at least three times prior.
The three students were known acquaintances, and given their disappearance from school at around the same time, it was believed that the three were traveling together.
Wednesday night, Knicko Askari, Victoria’s father, confirmed that all three had been found, and were returned home safely.
“They went to great detail to try to avoid detection,” commented Lawler last Thursday after they were found, surmising the teenagers had planned the runaway attempt weeks in advance.
The trio had left school grounds around lunchtime, and Victoria intentionally left her phone behind.
According to Lawler, the juveniles didn’t make it very far, using public transportation to get to destinations in Hemet, Moreno Valley and Perris.
After getting in contact with the Murrays’ aunt and guardian, Viliz Murray, Knicko was reportedly able to locate all three teenagers Wednesday night.
Both Askari’s and the Murrays’ family have been reluctant to share any additional details, as they are still working with detectives regarding the motivations and the acts that took place post-disappearance.