MEDFORD, Ore. — A 19-year-old Central Point man is in the Jackson County Jail connected to the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl. After 48 hours missing, Starla Correro is now safe, but the investigation into her disappearance is not over.
Police found her last night, and she say she willingly went with a 19-year-old. 19-year-old Kody Liston has been taken into custody. He is accused of helping Correro hide and providing her with marijuana, but the investigation now turns to why the teen ran away in the first place.
Medford Police say there are roughly 250 cases of minors running away from home every year. While it’s not yet known why the 14-year-old in this case ran away, police say the majority of cases are a reflection of serious issues at home.
In runaway cases, police typically conduct interviews with the child and their families to determine what, if anything, they are running away from. Lieutenant Mike Budreau with the Medford Police says that children who run away chronically are more likely to get involved with the criminal justice system, either as a suspect or as a victim.
“If we can figure out why she’s running away, or why the person is running away, we can potentially stop a lot of further problems for not only the person involved, but the criminal justice system as a whole,” said Lt. Budreau.
In most runaway cases like this, the children are returned home to their parents unless there is evidence of abuse. If other problems are identified, children and their families are usually referred to other resources for counselling, or, if necessary, support for finances or addiction. Medford Police will also be looking into what happened during the time Starla was missing. They say it’s important in making sure she is okay.