Police locate 2 runaways

Posted Sept. 17, 2008, at 10:27 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2011, at 12:17 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two Houlton teenagers missing since last week were found safe by members of the Presque Isle Police Department on Tuesday evening.

Houlton police were notified Sept. 9 that 15-year-old Dustin Smith, who resides on White Settlement Road, was missing after he failed to show up for school.

Also reported missing by her foster parent was his girlfriend, Kassandra D. LeClaire, 17.

Presque Isle police had received information that the two teens were hanging around the railroad tracks near the Northern Maine Forum and may have been staying on the fairgrounds.

“We were down there investigating when a walker-by asked us if we were looking for two kids,” said Sgt. Laurie Kelly of the Presque Isle Police Department. “We told him we were, and he said he’d seen them walking into some bushes.”

Moments later, Kelly and her fellow officers took the couple into custody.

This is not the first time the two have gone missing, Kelly said, describing the two as “habitual runaways.”

Smith and LeClaire have spent numerous years in the state foster care system, and Kelly said both indicated dissatisfaction with their current foster families.

“They’ve been in the system a long time,” Kelly said. “Now they found each other and want to be together all the time.”

Smith and LeClaire are on probationary hold in Houlton, Kelly said.

LeClaire also is being held on an outstanding juvenile warrant for failure to appear in court stemming from a harassment charge.

Both have extended families in the Presque Isle area.

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