Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators are in Mount Vernon investigating what may have driven a 13-year-old Mount Vernon girl to hire a taxi to take her to a Monroe County church camp Monday, where she then ran away.
Monroe County Sheriff Neil Rohlfing said DCFS had no open or closed cases involving the girl, Jate’a Lejla Frank, or her family. The agency is investigating, he said, because the case involves a runaway youth.
Jate’a remains in an area hospital after rescuers found her on property near Camp Wartburg, southwest of Waterloo, Tuesday morning, nearly 24 hours after search efforts first began. She had been to the camp recently but was not registered for the session that she arrived for Monday.
After she arrived, she left her backpacks with the taxi and walked off into the woods, touching off the multi-agency search that involved up to 100 emergency responders, several dogs and even some aircraft.
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Rohlfing said deputies haven’t had a chance to have a substantive conversation with Jate’a or her family yet.
Meanwhile, the cab driver who took Frank on the hour-and-a-half ride to the camp faces a misdemeanor endangerment charge. The driver is due in court July 31.
The cab driver reportedly told police during and after the search for Frank that the teen had acted strangely during the cab ride and that he probably should have notified law enforcement.