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Pasco Tribune

Police hope for tips in teen runaway's disappearance

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 08:49 AM
NEW PORT RICHEY -

In an attempt to generate further leads, Pasco County authorities held a news conference Wednesday to speak about a teen runaway, missing since September.

Jamie Carnesha Lee, 15, was last seen by relatives at her New Port Richey home Sept. 4, 2012. The teen, who briefly attended Bishop McLaughlin High School in Spring Hill, had twice run away from home since the family moved to Pasco County from Tampa.

Lee, who is black, is 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds, has extensions in her hair and wears blue contacts.

When she left previously, she had maintained contact with her family, and both times she was found in Pinellas County, where they think she might be now. This time, she hasn't contacted anyone.

Detective David Boyer of the Pasco sheriff's Missing Persons Unit said teen runaways often will communicate with their families. "If it's not directly with the parents, it's most often through friends; it's with Facebook postings, calls to other relatives that are kind of disassociated from the family or somebody else they feel comfortable with" he said.

"In quite a few cases, they actually do just call their family in hopes it will kind of take the importance off the case. They'll reach out to the family and say, 'Hey I'm OK. I'm not going to come home, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm safe.' "

In addition to there being no communication between Jamie and her friends and family, detectives are concerned she is involved in "high risk" activities and might be dating older men.

"Even though she's 15, you can't discount her age," Boyer said. "She's still a juvenile. She can't consent to any type of sexual activity."

Pasco County had 559 cases of runaways reported last year, according to Boyer's partner, Detective Aaron Smith. The pair has 42 open cases. Those include new runaways, welfare checks, cold cases and those that have carried over from 2012, Boyer said.

"My biggest fear is that she would end up as an unidentified dead person," Boyer said. "And I've already taken the steps to make sure that if that is the case, I have the comparison DNA from the mother. That's the last resort and that's a terrible alternative to actually think about."

Anyone with information on Jamie's whereabouts can call the Pasco County Sheriff's Office at (727) 844-7711 or Boyer at (352)518-5002.


edaniels@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1860 Twitter: @EDanielsTBO

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