Teens who fled youth center found

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — All four teens who left the Genesis Youth Center in Draper without permission Tuesday night have been found.

Just shy of 24 hours after leaving the Genesis Youth Center, a minimal security juvenile work camp, a 17 year old and 18-year-old Jesse Hopkins were found in Orem.

Authorities said a 16-year-old and 15-year-old were found in Salt Lake City around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Juvenile Justice Services Spokesperson Elizabeth Sollis spoke about the situation.

“For the most part this is one last opportunity for them to clear all of their obligations to the courts and to society and the communities, so for the kids to leave the program is very unfortunate because they are jeopardizing that opportunity they had to complete their obligations in a manner that gives back to the community and holds them accountable,” she said.

Authorities did not originally release the names and photos of the teens, but said they made a decision to do so if they were not found within 24 hours. After the boys were found, FOX 13 News removed the boys’ names and photos. Several hours after their escape, a car was stolen from the JCW’s in Lehi.

Police are still investigating whether or not the theft may be connected with one or more of the teens.

The car belonged to Esther Lombardi, who described what happened through a translator. She said she was warming up her car before clocking out and when she went back outside she saw the theft happening right before her eyes.

“There was this young guy who was already backing up,” the translator said. “She thought it was a joke of the employees because they looked young – but then she thought they were probably going to come back but then he backed up really fast and they came all the way through the drive thru.”

Surveillance video shows the 2004 Isuzu driving the wrong way through the restaurant’s drive thru.

Lombardi’s translator said: “When she realized that they were not the coworkers, she was really scared and she started shaking and was like, ‘OK I need to call the cops now this is not a joke anymore.'”

Authorities said all four of the teens have been taken to a detention facility.



  • Eric Anderson

    Less tax payer money being wasted on lost youth…too bad the LDS cannot controls their kids… Maybe stop having so many!

    • Annalisa

      I don’t remember hearing anything about family size or religion in the story. I also don’t remember the majority of juvenile issues coming from LDS families either.

    • Brendon Velasquez

      Wasted on lost youth? Maybe if the government put money into programs that were effective and made them not feel like “lost youth” there would be progress. I was like these kids once and I grew past it eventually but not everyone can do it alone, having these kids feel like authority has given up on them does nothing to help them in the long run. Maybe we should take a look at the education system and juvenile justice system to find a better way to help them through whatever they are going through. Giving up on youth helps no one, especially when the people giving up on them are those that should be there for them the most. Doesn’t the future rest with the youth of this country? As far as the LDS statement, that’s just ignorant. I may not be LDS and I may have problems with their doctrine but I would never stoop to blaming a religion simply because it’s there.

  • Charlotte

    Its not about having so many kids. Its about teaching our kids accountability. Our youth today are not paying for their mistakes and taking responsibility. Looks like these teens are going to have to learn the hardway. I hope and pray that they are safe and that they don’t hurt anyone in the process.

  • Peter Reiner

    Lost youth??? I was just in this program not but 2 weeks ago I was in the same section as these kids too, from what I can tell you know nothing about these kids people make mistakes and doing so doesn’t me you should immediately condemn them as lost youth they’re good kids they’ve just been influenced by the wrong peers I hope to god that they learn from these mistakes rather than condemn these kids or kids like these maybe you should find away to give proper guidance to youth like them and me if you think you know better .

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