Maliika Andrus has been missing from a group home in Bonney Lake, Washington since Sunday. Police have asked for the public's help in getting the 17-year-old back to her home, especially since she relies on medication.
Andrus is described as having the mental capacity of a 9-year-old and depends upon medication and regular care from the group home she resides in. Authorities are afraid that Andrus may try to hurt herself and is unable to take care of herself for an extended amount of time. She was last seen early Sunday morning but managed to escape from the group home through her window.
"A lot of times in these things we are able to search for a few hours and find people right away," Pierce County Sheriff's detective Ed Troyer told Q13Fox.com. "When we get to the point that we've exhausted everything, we can go to the media because she may be sitting in somebody's house or somebody may see her and not know she's missing."
The teen was last seen wearing a black shirt and multicolored, striped pajama pants. She is 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighs 115 pounds; Andrus tends to wear her hair in braids and has brown eyes.
Authorities began searching for Andrus on Sunday but had to abandon the search at nightfall. They continued all day yesterday but had no luck. Now the police are turning to the public for help in assuring Andrus' safe return.
Unfortunately, Andrus' escape from her home is not the only recent incident in Washington state. Last week, Kari Kahl's 14-year-old daughter wandered away from her home for developmentally disabled children in Everett, Wash. They found her five days later in Seattle and arrested a man who sexually assaulted the teen.
"It's every parent's worst nightmare," Kahler said, "because she's so naïve. She doesn't have the cognitive level of a 14-year-old street-smart kid. She will go with someone and think they're a safe person when they may or may not be."
"I think it's a pretty big problem," Mary Ciancio, an advocate for the developmentally disabled, told Q13 Fox News. "We get calls about it somewhat often, about people that have been wandering away from their home and what to do. I do think it happens a lot and some of it is short staffing and some of it undertrained staff."
Anyone with information regarding Maliika Andrus is asked to call 911 immediately.