Missing JC teen found hiding

Members of the Jefferson City Police Department’s SWAT team, school resources officers and detectives spent several hours on foot Monday morning going door-to-door and looking in the woods off Riverside Drive looking for 16-year-old Kiera McLellan who was reported missing Sunday.

Members of the Jefferson City Police Department’s SWAT team, school resources officers and detectives spent several hours on foot Monday morning going door-to-door and looking in the woods off Riverside Drive looking for 16-year-old Kiera McLellan who was reported missing Sunday. Photo by Julie Smith.

Editor's note: This article follows up on and recaps previous coverage.

A missing 16-year-old Jefferson City teen — Kiera McLellan — has been found.

“She was hiding at a friend’s house,” Jefferson City Police Capt. Bob Cynova reported Monday. “She’s fine.”

McLellan was located at 12:10 p.m. Monday hiding in an attic of a house on Church Street. She was found during a search of the residence by Jefferson City police officers.

Cynova reported she is in good condition. She was taken into custody without incident and was transported to the Prenger Juvenile Detention Center.

McLellan’s disappearance caused the Jefferson City Police Department to call in its Special Weapons and Tactical Team on Sunday to search for the missing teen. The department’s SWAT team was summoned because it’s an efficient way to quickly assemble officers for a search.

On Monday morning, officers were still examining the wooded and grassy areas northwest of Ellis Porter/Riverside Park and knocking on doors in the neighborhood nearby in hopes of discovering some clues to her whereabouts.

Prior to locating McLellan, the department’s detectives were working to develop leads in the case by interviewing her family and friends.

The department’s officers spent most of Sunday — until midnight — searching for the girl. They resumed the search again Monday morning.

Prior to being found in a friend’s house, she was last seen Sunday morning around 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of East Capitol Avenue and Riverside Drive, according to a male juvenile who was interviewed by police.

Authorities started to search for the teen after being told by her parents she didn’t come home Saturday evening and didn’t arrive at work on Sunday.

She was reported missing by her parents Sunday.

Cynova said the department is re-interviewing some of McLellan’s friends and associates to find out more about what happened, or if anyone was actively trying to help her hide from authorities. One juvenile is in custody to be interviewed.

It’s unknown if any charges will be filed.

“We’re going to talk to them again to discover what happened. We have to tie up loose ends,” Cynova said.

Undertaking such a search is a taxing prospect for the department.

Cynova estimated about 17 officers worked an average of three hours at a cost of about $33 per hour.

“It’s very expensive for the department to staff the street and conduct a search, but we never consider the expense when we make decisions. We treat it like the worst-case scenario, while hoping for the best case,” he said.

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