No charges (or charge) for teens

A while back three teens told their parents they were going to the movies and took off for a weekend jaunt to Southern California. Were there any charges filed in that case? If not, why not? How much money was spent on search-and-rescue efforts, and who pays for their folly?

— Jill. S., Medford

No charges were filed against Jacob Anderson, 17, Devan Savage, 16, and Christion Bradley, 17, all of Rogue River, and Emily Taylor Probst, 15, of Medford, who ran away May 31 to Southern California after they told their parents they were going to see a movie.

"There are no criminal charges that can be filed," said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen. "Running away is not a crime in the state of Oregon."

Several local, state and federal agencies were involved in the search before one of the teens contacted police in Garden Grove, Calif.

Agencies don't usually charge for search-and-rescue services, viewing it as part of their duties. It's all part of your tax dollars at work.

"These were juveniles who ran away," Hansen added. "Where are they going to get the money? We aren't going to charge their parents. You can't lock your kid down and nail his foot to the floor even though sometimes you would like to."

Because the search involved multiple agencies and because law enforcement usually doesn't seek compensation for its services, the cost of the search has not been calculated, Hansen said.

"The costs were significant, but we include these kinds of things in our budget," he said. "Our kids are extremely valuable to us. Departments are going to spend the money to find them."

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