Missing teen found hiding in attic

Kierra S. McLellan, 16, reported missing February 17, 2013 after her parents said she did not come home Saturday night and did not show up for work Sunday.

A Jefferson City teenager has been found almost 24 hours after she was reported missing.

Kiera McLellan, 16, was found hiding in the attic of a home on Church Street at 12:10 p.m. Monday. Police said she was in good condition.

McLellan and a juvenile male were taken into custody and transported to the Prenger Family Center for questioning.

Before the teen was found, Jefferson City police were going door-to-door searching for her.

Captain Bob Cynova with Jefferson City Police said, "We had a lot of man hours and search hours put in the search, with 17 or 18 officers out there for ten or 12 hours searching areas out there for her. So it's very expensive for us, the rest of the city would suffer for this because we pour a lot of resources into a missing child."

The police department called in their Special Weapons and Tactical Team to conduct a ground search for the teen.

The SWAT team searched the woods near Riverside Park, which is the area McLellan's on-and-off boyfriend reported last seeing her Sunday morning.

"Her boyfriend, her ex boyfriend, we're not really sure what his status is right now, he told us that he had last seen her at the intersection of Capitol and Riverside Drive, so in a search like this you always start at the last known place," Cynova said.

Authorities began their search Sunday for the teen after her parents told police their daughter did not come home Saturday night and didn't show up for work Sunday.

Cynova offered some advice for teenagers thinking about running away:

"Man up and go home, that's the best thing to do," he said. "It only gets worse from the point where police are involved. Your parents are terribly worried. She put her mom and dad through a lot of stress unnecessarily and she should have taken personal responsiblity and gone home."

The captain said that Prenger's juvenile detention center will determine whether of not to pursue charges against McLellan or the juvenile male. He added that if an adult was found to have aided McLellan, then he or she would be taken to Cole County Jail.