The Chicago Police Department agreed with the family of Yasmin Acree that CPD fumbled during the investigation of Acree’s disappearance by leaving pertinent evidence behind and not dusting for fingerprints when the teen was reported missing in Janua
The Chicago Police Department agreed with the family of Yasmin Acree that CPD fumbled during the investigation of Acree’s disappearance by leaving pertinent evidence behind and not dusting for fingerprints when the teen was reported missing in January 2008, according to a recent letter addressed to the girl’s mother. Dated Aug. 30, 2009, the letter from the CPD’s Internal Affairs Division acknowledged the completion of a, “thorough investigation of your allegation of misconduct by a member of the Chicago Police Department…All available evidence was evaluated, and it has been determined that misconduct on the part of the department member(s) has been proven.” The 15-year-old went missing from her West Side home Jan. 15, 2008. She was an honor student at Austin Polytech High School and never made her bed the day she went missing. That caused her mother, Rose Starnes, great concern. What became a bigger issue in the girl’s disappearance was a padlock that was cut off the home’s basement door, the police leaving it behind and her immediate classification as a runaway, she said. “I called the police and told them it wasn’t like Yasmin to miss a day of school or leave her bed unmade. When I showed them the lock that was cut off the door and that Yasmin’s bedroom was in the basement, they left it behind,” Starnes told the Defender Thursday outside of police headquarters. Three days after the girl was reported missing, the police collected the broken lock and dusted it for fingerprints, she said. Starnes and clergy leaders, including the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Church who is also Yasmin’s cousin, held a press conference Thursday outside of police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., where they also demanded to speak with police Supt. Jody Weis. The group wanted Weis to discuss IAD’s conclusion and what sanctions would be taken against the investigating officer(s). “They botched the case. They blew it, and they knew it. They knew there was a dead cat on the line,” Acree said, adding he was amazed it took 13 months to come back with their conclusion. Internal affairs interviewed Starnes about the investigation on July 14, 2008. Starnes and Acree were unable to meet with Weis but did speak privately in the police headquarters lobby with Chicago Alternative Police Strategies Chief Tina Skahill and Chief Eugene Williams. Skahill was the chief of IAD when Yasmin disappeared. She made sure the family knew the steps that needed to be taken, Acree said. “In my heart I do believe she’s still alive. I don’t know how safe though. And maybe I don’t want to think anything else but that she’s alive. I just want Yasmin home. If they wouldn’t have tagged her as a runaway in the beginning and took the lock and got fingerprints like they should have on day one, Yasmin could be home now,” Starnes said while making a public plea for her daughter’s safe return. The family requested that Yasmin’s case receive top priority in light of the misconduct allegations sustained by IAD. They also expect to meet with Weis within the next week, according to Acree. “The case of Yasmin Acree remains active and is being aggressively investigated. Detectives have been in constant contact with Acree’s family and will continue to investigate all leads,” said Chicago Police News Affairs officer JoAnn Taylor. A $3,000 reward has been offered in this case. Anyone with information about Yasmin Acree’s disappearance is urged to call Acree at 773-378-3300 or to call the Area 5 Detective Division at 312-746-8365. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.