Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
Teen Girls Missing From Mesa, Arizona Group Home Found Dead In Water Basin
Kamryn Meyers and Sitlalli Avelar reportedly left a group home on Jan. 7. Their bodies were found nearby.
Two teenage girls who walked away from their Mesa, Arizona group home in early January have been found dead.
Kamryn Meyers, 15, and Sitlalli Avelar, 17, were both living at a Powerhouse Youth Facility Inc. group home in Mesa when, on Jan. 6, staff members overheard the two talking about running away, according to Mesa ABC affiliate KNXV and Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO. It was something both girls had done at previous facilities.
Under Arizona law, however, the staff had few options.
“They’re not allowed to lock these children in these facilities," the organization's attorney, Brad Miller, told KNXV. "So, oftentimes, the children are free to leave.”
One girl had been at the facility, which had opened in November, for just a month, while the other had been there for two when they hatched their plan to leave.
“Immediately the staff followed their standard operating procedure and encouraged these girls to stay," Miller said. The girls, however, left on Jan. 7.
"Then of course, immediately the staff went into action: called the DCS hotline, they called the case workers, they filed the incident report,” Miller said.
The staff even met with the police again on Jan. 10 after the two still hadn't returned.
“Powerhouse did an amazing job at immediately reporting them missing and a few days later they also met with the police department once again, so they did their due diligence,” Anika Robinson, the president and cofounder of ASA Now (a non-profit that helps foster families and foster kids), told KPHO.
But not even the girls in Meyers' group chat — at least one of whom met the 15-year-old at a different facility for at-risk teen girls — heard from her after that, her friend Keith Plummer told Mesa NBC affiliate KPNX.
Instead, on Saturday, Mesa Police received a phone call around 6 p.m. from a man walking his dogs on the southwest side of the gated Leisure World community, according to a police press release obtained by Oxygen.com and KPHO. The man reported seeing a mannequin in a water basin, but responding officers determined that it was a body — and they found a second one.
Police said it appeared the bodies had been there for quite some time, and it took police and the medical examiner until Wednesday to determine that the two bodies were those of Avelar and Meyers, according to KPNX.
A cause of death has not yet been determined.
"We take any case like this extremely seriously," Mesa Police Det. Richard Encinas told Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ. "Most of us have children, most of us have teenagers, around that age so we definitely feel the effects of that."
"She was entertaining; she was hilarious; she always put a smile on my face," Meyers' friend Plummer told KPNX. "I really feel for the girls who were Kam's best friends because it's heartbreaking."
“I think all of us were really heartbroken and shocked,” Plummer told KPHO. “The idea of someone with that big of a heart and always willing to light up a room no matter what was going on in her own life ... It just sucks to see it happen to somebody who really doesn’t deserve it.”
“She was only 15, and her life was just ended," Plummer added. "She had no real chance in the world because it was just ripped away from her."
The Mesa Police ask that anyone with information about Meyers or Avelar's disappearance or death to call the department's non-emergency number at 480-644-2211.