The parents of a 14-year-old boy who is missing in Indiana forced him to wear a T-shirt stained with the words “liar” and “cheater” before disappearing, police said.
Scottie Dean Morris was last seen in his hometown of Eaton, 76 miles northeast of Indianapolis, at 8:30 p.m. on March 16 and the missing person alert said that he is “believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance.”
His parents, Felicia and Brian Morris, underwent lie detector tests as part of the investigation after police were provided with a distressing photo of Scottie in the T-shirt to wear as part of the search. He had the words “I’m a liar” handwritten with a marker and also seemed to say “I hurt my brother.”
Police Chief Jay Turner said Scottie’s parents forced him to wear the jersey as punishment, though it’s not clear why.
The search for Scottie was called off Monday night after his mother, Felicia Morris, made a desperate appeal directly to Scottie, urging him to come home.
The Eaton Police Department initially released a distressing photo of Scottie wearing a white T-shirt with the words “I’m a liar” handwritten in a felt-tip pen. The image has been removed, but it is believed that Scottie was wearing the shirt when he disappeared.
His mother, Felicia Morris, also issued a desperate appeal to Scottie directly, urging him to return home.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has now launched a search for local waterways, with boats, sonar systems, drones and scuba equipment on standby.
After Scottie was reported missing, the Eaton Police Department released the photo of him in the jersey. Police later apologized for sharing the image after backlash over the ‘humiliating’ image and reposted a version with the cropped T-shirt.
But Chief Turner said it was “the only photo” the department received and was “shown as an investigative tool,” suggesting it could contain clues to the circumstances of Scottie’s disappearance or aid in the search.
The photo was reportedly taken the day Scottie went missing and Chief Turner has since confirmed to 21 alive that they forced him to use it as punishment.
The missing person note also says he was “last seen wearing black shoes, red and black shorts, and a white T-shirt with writing on the front,” suggesting he was wearing it at the time.
Deputy Chief Chris Liggett said Monday that “there have been a number of interviews, polygraphs have been done.
“We have no new leads, no new information, we are a bit stuck at the moment,” he said.
He said the search was called off Monday night ahead of a Tuesday meeting between law enforcement officials and other emergency services.
The recent cold weather in the region has also added to concerns for Scottie’s well-being. Recent night temperatures have dipped to 34F.
In an emotional appeal to her son, Scottie’s mother said: ‘Scott, I love you and I want you to come home.
Eaton police called off the search for Scottie Monday night ahead of a meeting Tuesday to decide next steps.
Scottie’s mother, Felicia Morris, said: “I know you’re angry and confused and I’m afraid you’re scared about all of this.” Everyone is looking out for you, we are not trying to scare you. You’re not in trouble.
Scottie’s mother, Felicia, at a press conference with Eaton PD Police Chief Jay Turner, who apologized after police released the photo of Scottie with his shirt painted on.
‘I know you’re angry and confused and I’m afraid you’re scared about all of this. Everyone is looking out for you, we are not trying to scare you. You’re not in trouble.
‘If you’re in a house and they come to you and you don’t want to go out because it’s the police, contact them. Dad and I will go find you. I love you and I just want you to come home. I need to know that you are safe.
Her aunt, Melissa Morris May, has also urged people to share the appeal.
Scottie is 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, and has brown hair with blue eyes.
The search operation has included infrared drones, a boat search of a nearby river and bloodhound teams. Eaton is a small town of around 1,600 people and many residents have joined search efforts in recent days.
“There has been a tremendous amount of support from the community, and we appreciate each and every one of you who has volunteered during this time,” police said.
If you have information regarding Scottie Dean Morris, please contact the Eaton Police Department at (765) 396-3297 or 911.