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Officials: 2 Nebraska teen offenders escape twice in one day

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Feb 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-02 14:44:12-05

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — Officials are investigating how a pair of Nebraska juvenile offenders managed to escape custody twice in a 24-hour period.

The incident began Tuesday night when a report of two suspicious males led the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office to call the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney to see if it was missing any teens. The facility’s staff then checked and reported that two teens were missing, the Kearney Hub reported.

Early the next day, deputies in neighboring Seward County found an abandoned stolen car in a snowbank off Interstate 80. Footprints in the snow led deputies to the two escaped juveniles.

By Wednesday afternoon, York County deputies received a report that a transportation company driver who was taking the two teens back to the Kearney facility had been assaulted and the transport van stolen.

York police tracked the van to Hamilton County, where the teens were again taken into custody and back to the Kearney youth center.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Kearney center, said an internal investigation into Tuesday’s escape has been launched. The Kearney center has been plagued by escapes and understaffing in recent years.