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Source: Murder suspect had escaped detention center weeks prior

<i>KMOV</i><br/>A teenager taken into custody in connection to the murder of a St. Louis dad
A teenager taken into custody in connection to the murder of a St. Louis dad

By Susan El Khoury

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — A teenager taken into custody in connection to the murder of a St. Louis dad, was not supposed to be out on the streets, according to a police source.

On Monday, 43-year-old Carlos Morton was shot and killed at a B.P. gas station off Chouteau Avenue near downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police say they caught three teenagers who were involved. What police aren’t saying publicly is that one of the teens is a 16-year-old who recently escaped from a state-run juvenile detention center, which a St. Louis Police source confirmed to News 4 Investigates.

On November 19, the 16-year-old, along with a 17-year-old, escaped from the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center, a 30-bed facility in North St. Louis City.

The St. Louis police source tells News 4 that University City Police named the 16-year-old as a person of interest in the November 30 shooting near Millar Park, which he’s accused of leaving from in a stolen car. According to News 4′s source, the victim in that shooting was the 17-year-old escapee.

Then on December 12, Morton was murdered at the gas station.

When asked, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department would not confirm what the police source told News 4.

The Hogan Street Center is run by the Missouri Department of Social Services. A spokesperson also would not confirm any information writing in a statement, “Due to the confidentiality of youth in the care of Division of Youth Services, the Department of Social Services cannot provide specific information.”

Escapes aren’t new at the Hogan Street facility. In June, three teens ran from the high-security center. Days after that escape, a fourth teen tried to slip out of a window, he fell and ended up in the hospital. That prompted calls for change from the St. Louis’ Director of Public Safety, Dan Isom.

“I think we should all be concerned about juveniles who are repeatedly escaping from custody at the juvenile building. We, as the public safety department of St. Louis, continue to try to give them support,” Isom said in June.

A St. Louis Police spokesperson sent News 4 the following statement:

At this time, and to my knowledge, no charges have been issued relative to the homicide case yet, and I have not been advised that any of the arrested juveniles have been charged as adults. Also, Public Information does not have details to confirm if any of the apprehended suspects were escapees from the juvenile facility or their connection to any other incident. The three suspects that were taken into custody were remanded to the Juvenile Courts. Since they were remanded to the Juvenile Court, any further inquiries would have to be referred to the Juvenile Court.

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