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News

Elburn's teen escapee captured after medical emergency

Parents believed he overdosed on drugs

ELBURN – The 17-year-old boy who escaped Elburn police custody for five hours on Dec. 20 was not found again until his parents called for an ambulance because they thought he was overdosing on drugs, according to a police report obtained by the Kane County Chronicle.

The three-page report was written by Officer Jonathan Shepard, who lost custody of the boy when he was left alone in an unsecured interview room.

Shepard did not return a voicemail message seeking comment.

Shepard’s report stated that he left the boy alone in the interview room with the door shut while he contacted the boy’s probation officer, the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to get felony charges approved, the report stated.

The report does not state how long the boy was alone, but Shepard realized the boy was gone about 6 p.m. when he went back into the interview room and saw the screen was removed and the window was cranked open, according to the report.

Shepard’s report details efforts at an unsuccessful search for him that included the boy’s parents.

At 10:48 p.m., Shepard notified state police and messaged local police officers about the missing boy.

Then at 11:07 p.m., Elburn police were dispatched to the teen’s house for a report of him suffering a drug overdose, the report stated.

Shepard and another officer found the boy on the floor of the basement in the family’s home where he “spoke/groaned incoherently and was primarily conscious with moments of seeming unconsciousness,” the report stated.

“[He] was roused when shaken or spoken to. I monitored his breathing and pulse until medics arrived. [He] was checked by medics and transported by ambulance to [Northwestern Medicine] Delnor Hospital. … Hospital staff were informed that [the boy] was not currently in our custody and was free to be treated or transported as needed,” the report stated.

At 1:48 a.m. Dec. 21, Delnor security notified TriCom that the teen was medically cleared and ready to be released, the report stated.

Another officer went to Delnor to retrieve the teen, who was then placed in handcuffs “due to his previous escape attempt,” the report stated.

Once back at the Elburn police station, Shepard placed the teen in a booking room and by 2:45 a.m. felony charges were filed against him for burglary to a motor vehicle, possession of a lost or mislaid credit or debit card and escape, the report stated.

The boy was then turned over to the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center for detention, the report stated.

Internal investigation ongoing

As to whether the teen had overdosed on drugs – and could possibly have died –  Police Chief Nicholas Sikora said he could not comment on the boy's medical situation.

Sikora said he would respond to supposition about what might have happened – but didn't – because that was “guessing.”

“At that point in time, there was no indication that this boy had any indication of harming himself,” Sikora said. “Anybody at any time running away from police could get hurt in the course of running away.”

Sikora said he did not know how long the boy had been left alone in the interview room, which is something the ongoing internal investigation will reveal once it is completed.

“It takes time to work through the process,” Sikora said.

Sikora said once he gets the completed report of the internal investigation, he will make a decision on discipline and policy changes.

“With the weather, illnesses and time off, it takes time to get it wrapped up,” Sikora said. “I was hoping to be done with it by this week, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for it to take 30 days or longer.”

Missing dump truck

In a related aspect of the incident, Sikora said police could not tie the boy’s escape to a stolen dump truck from nearby Elburn Concrete, Sikora said.

“We have our suspicions,” Sikora said, “but the owner was happy he got his equipment back and did not want to pursue it any further.’

Elburn Concrete, at 217 N. Dempsey St., is located a quarter mile from the Elburn Police Department, at 301 E. North St., according to a map of the area.

The dump truck was reporting missing on Dec. 21 and found the same day by Sikora, parked at the intersection of Willow Street and Ridge Drive, according to the police report.

'Fearful of confrontation'

The entire incident with the escaped teen began much earlier, at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, when the boy’s mother notified police that she had found a bank debit card belonging to someone else in her son’s pants pocket, the report stated.

She replaced it there because she “was fearful that a confrontation would trigger an outburst, binge or otherwise hostile reaction by [the boy], who is prone to such behavior,” according to the report.

The boy’s mother told police he was out, had the pants on and thought he might be walking in the area of Willow Street.

Shepard located the teen walking near Laverne Street, picked him up, searched him and found the debit card, the report stated.

Shepard placed the boy in an interview room, began video and audio recording and read him his rights, the report stated.

The boy stated that he understood his rights and that he would talk to police. Shepard called the boy’s father to come to the station and be present “and act as [his] advocate should any issues arise or in case [he] needed a parent.”

The interview was brief, the report stated.

“[He] admitted to having been high on drugs at the time, so he was unsure of the details,” the report stated.

But as they continued talking, the boy admitted to taking the card from a vehicle parked on the street, the report stated.

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