State and local law enforcement are searching for a 17-year-old who was granted a furlough at a maximum security juvenile facility on Friday and never returned, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned.
The teen is still on the loose and is considered high risk and potentially violent, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case.
Sources told the Troubleshooters the teen was supposed to return to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown this past Saturday, but he never did. CJTS is the only locked, maximum-security facility of its type for troubled teen boys in the state.
The teen’s whereabouts are unknown. Authorities said he is familiar to West Hartford police, who are also apparently aware of his disappearance.
The use of furloughs at CJTS is a controversial topic. Former Gov. Jodi Rell suspended furloughs of this sort almost a decade ago after several teenage offenders failed to return when they were given passes.
While our source told us the teen is high risk, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families insists that teens at CJTS are not violent criminals and said furloughs are a way to reintroduce these offenders to the community just before their release.
The spokesman also added that this is the first walk-away since furloughs were reintroduced a year and a half ago.
"This youth is not considered high risk and was scheduled to be released from CJTS and returned home on Monday, November 3," a spokesperson for the DCF said in a statement. "We are currently working with law enforcement and family to locate the youth."