News 4 Investigates digs into why police records failed to show teen murder suspect’s escape from Hogan Street

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:59 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Police records uncovered by News 4 Investigates did not show the escape of a 16-year-old from a juvenile detention center, who police sources confirmed to News 4 spent weeks on the run before being recaptured in connection to the murder of a St. Louis father.

On Dec. 12, 43-year-old Carlos Morton was shot and killed at the B.P. gas station at Chouteau Avenue and 14th Street.

“Now my brother is not able to spend this Christmas with his children,” said Carlos Morton’s sister, Tiffeny Morton. “This is his grandchild’s first Christmas, and she won’t be able to spend it with her grandfather.”

Police took three teenagers into custody. A St. Louis police source confirmed to News 4 Investigates that one of the teenagers is a 16-year-old who on Nov. 19, escaped from the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center. The facility in North City is run by the state and is considered a high-security juvenile detention center.

While he was on the run, News 4′s police source said the teen was a person of interest in a shooting near Miller Park in University City.

The Morton family said they can’t understand why St. Louis Metropolitan Police and the state agency that oversees the center have not publicly confirmed the escape.

“Nothing was ever made public about any juvenile escaping from anywhere,” Tiffeny Morton added. “If you’re grown enough to pull a trigger, you’re grown enough to commit a crime, you’re grown enough to get your face plastered all over the TV.”

News 4 Investigates checked police call logs and found there were no calls listed to the center on the day of the teen’s alleged escape.

Officers have been to the Hogan Street Center dozens of other times. Records show in the past four years police were called around 70 times for assaults to missing person cases.

News 4 Investigates asked police why the November escape doesn’t show up. A department spokesperson responded with an updated call log that includes a “call for help” on the same day as the alleged escape. The spokesperson explained that the Nov. 19 call was listed under a different address on Hogan Street, and they didn’t know that until now, so they corrected it in the call logs.

Morton told News 4 her family still wants to know why the teen’s escape is being kept quiet.

“It’s not fair, we should not have to deal with it,” she said. “Who needs a fire lit under them for them to do their jobs?”

The state agency that runs the Hogan Street center sent News 4 Investigates the following statement:

“The safety of youth in the care of the Division of Youth Services and communities are paramount and the Department of Social Services works closely with law enforcement to safely locate runaway youth. The Division of Youth Services also reviews events with facility staff to improve and strengthen the program and to support identified needs to increase the safety of all.”

When asked why there was no public notice about the November escape, St. Louis Metropolitan Police responded:

“If our department receives a call about escapees from the juvenile facility, a report is then taken relative to that occurrence. As far as public releases, my office [Public Information] does not automatically provide information about juvenile facility escapes/attempt escapes; however, if a member of the media requests information about such incidents, we provide what we can. It’s also worth noting that since juveniles are considered a protected class, my office does not receive criminal records of any juvenile to provide for public release, and we don’t receive any information about the status of cases referred to or being handled by the Juvenile Court.”