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KSL reporters locate missing teen

By Randall Jeppesen and Shara Park | Posted - Nov. 3, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.


7 photos

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MILLCREEK -- KSL reporters on the scene of a police search for a missing teenager found the boy Thursday morning.

Shara Park says she and Randall Jeppesen were across the street from the home of 14-year-old Jordan Mart, near 2400 East and 3300 South, when they spotted the boy around 8:25 a.m.

"I saw him in the bushes in front of his house. As I approached he went around the back of the house," Park said. When she asked his name, he affirmed his identity.

According to Jeppesen, "The missing teen looked to be in good shape for the few moments we saw him before he dashed into the backyard."

The reporters notified police and the boy's parents. Officers arrived, interviewed the teen, then his family took him inside their home. Police said he is unharmed but hungry.

Mart told police he spent the night sleeping on the grass in someone's yard. He said he woke up Thursday morning and then found his way back home. He wasn't sure how far he traveled.

Police were concerned about Mart because he has no legs and left his home scooting on the ground. Officers feared cold temperatures and moisture on the ground could put him at risk for hypothermia.

Mart had last been seen around 10:10 p.m. Wednesday by his foster family. Police said earlier in the day he had a court hearing that didn't go well. He was upset and refused to go into his house. Police said his family continued to check on him since he was determined to stay outside in his wheelchair, but then he disappeared.

Lt. Manfred Lassig of the Unified Police Department said earlier, "The problem that we have is he is 14 years old, doesn't have any legs. He was born with a disability where he has about eight inches of his thighs. He's wheelchair- bound, but when he does leave, he gets down and uses his arms and maneuvers, drags himself around."

Mart has a history of running away from home. Since June, police have been called to the house more than two dozen times to help locate him. Immediately after his court hearing Wednesday morning, he ran away but officers found him and brought him home. Police said usually they can find Mart within an hour or two, so for him to be gone overnight was concerning.

"(Temperatures are) in the 30s," Lassig had said. "It's cold and he's down on the ground crawling along. If there is any moisture he's picking it up." He was wearing a hoodie but not a coat.

Police went door to door, used police dogs and a helicopter that can track body heat to search for the boy.

Because of the teen's history of running away, Division of Child and Family Services is looking into this most recent case to see if there is a bigger issue. ----

Written with contributions from Randall Jeppesen and Shara Park .

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Randall Jeppesen
    Shara Park

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