Slain teen's family disputes how Portland police first handled case

Slain teen's family disputes how Portland police first handled case

Slain teen's family disputes how Portland police first handled case

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on April 1, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:11 AM

PORTLAND -- The discovery of the murder of 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn started out as a family worried about the unthinkable -- she fell dangerously into harm's way -- and Portland police treating her as a runaway.

The teen was reported missing on March 21. Family and friends became concerned after there had been no contact from her by phone, or updates on her Facebook page.

Police timeline: Yashanee Vaughn case

Her mother, Shaquita Louis said at first, investigators treated the case as a runaway investigation rather than a missing person case.

Portland Police Lt. Kelli Sheffer said at the time, it was determined that Vaughn had left on her own and there was no evidence to show she could not return home if she wished.

Sheffer said that fliers and information on the case were distributed internally immediately after Vaughn was reported missing.

Then, police said they intensified their investigation on Tuesday, March 29 when new details in the case led them to believe Vaughn was "at risk."

Detectives said they had no indication to believe that she had been abducted or foul play was involved until they received new information the night of Sunday, March 27.

Law enforcement sources told KGW on Thursday that two search warrants were served at the home of Yashanee's boyfriend Parrish Bennett, 16, on Monday, March 28. They found samples of blood in his bed that matched Yashanee's DNA.

Law enforcement sources told KGW they now believe the girl was killed the night Friday, March 19.

"I share the community's concern with the disappearance and now subsequent murder investigation of a young Portland woman," Chief Mike Reese said Thursday. "Our Detectives are actively involved in investigating this case and the Police Bureau will release additional details as soon as possible when it doesn't jeopardize the investigation. As Police Chief, I've been briefed throughout the investigation and Detectives have worked diligently over the course of the last week to pursue all leads in this case."

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