Missing Belleville teens’ belongings found in California

Girls last seen on Oct. 2
Missing Belleville teens’ belongings found in California

The search for two missing Belleville teens who fled home almost two weeks ago is continuing.

Josey Scoville and Larissa Aunet were never very close, according to their mothers.

But mothers Sherri Scoville and Rachel Aunet said they are tired of not knowing where their daughters are, why they left together or if they’re OK.

“She may be 17, but she is still my baby. She will always be my baby,” Scoville said.

The last time Scoville and Aunet saw their 17-year-old girls was Oct. 2. They said there were no signs that made them thing there were problems that could lead to a runaway situation.

Belleville police are heading up the investigation, but the lead sergeant on the case was not available Monday. Most recently, police said the girls were stopped in Stocklin, Ill., but let go. Investigators said they don’t suspect foul play and believe the girls left on their own.

Scoville and Aunet said police in Sacramento, Calif., contacted Wisconsin authorities in the past week. They say the West Coast officers found a pile of Josey and Larissa’s clothes and personal belongings randomly dumped in a car port. Among those items was a speeding ticket the girls picked up in Nebraska.

Missing Belleville teens’ belongings found in California

“They keep saying our case is very unique. It’s not the norm, that nothing that has happened is the norm. That everything that is happening doesn’t make sense to them,” Aunet said. “It’s just not their normal case.”

There are still no reported sightings of the teens. Scoville and Aunet said no friends or family members have contacted them, and their daughters’ cellphones are turned off.

They added that Josey and Larissa are thought to have just $300 in cash between the two of them. There have been no records of credit or debit transactions.

“Stuff was found. So does that mean, yes, OK, they’ve made it and they’re safe? Or does that mean now they’re into something bad and somebody said, ‘Dump your stuff?’ We don’t know,” Scoville said.

“I don’t want to be the parent that doesn’t know,” Aunet added.

There are places where people in these types of situations can turn to for help. One of those facilities is the Briarpatch Center, a branch of Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin.

The center runs a 24-hour hotline with upward of 120 calls coming in every month. The center also offers in-person counseling for runaways and their parents.

“Our main issue for the kid is safety. We don’t want them on the street at all,” said Jeanne Schneider, program coordinator.

Schneider said they use a family-based approach to make everyone part of the process of creating a safe environment at home.

“We don’t want to say, ‘You should do this, you should do that.’ Or, ‘You have to do this, you have to do that,’ because then that’s just us telling people,” Schneider said. “We want them to have a conversation and maybe make some sort of compromises.”

Schneider said teens seeking help are coming for a wide variety of reasons. Some of those include drug and alcohol problems, a change in school, issues with friends, conflicts at home and mental illness, among other factors.

Above all, Schneider said a lack of communication is most often at the root of runaway situations. She said it’s imperative to keep talking to teens and to make sure they know they can come to adults for help.

“Get them to start talking. Get them to start hearing, really hearing each other and talking in new ways,” Schneider said.

Scoville said her daughter has been bullied her entire life, sometimes physically. However, she said she was confident Josey had overcome that, and the day she left, everything seemed routine and normal.

Aunet says Larissa is a “good kid” who makes straight As in school. She said her daughter applied to a number of colleges.

Looking back as many times as they have, Scoville and Aunet said they cannot fathom what made their daughters leave. At this point, all they want is to know they are alive and well.

“With every ounce of me, I want them to be OK,” Scoville said. “They need to be.”

Anyone with information about Larissa Aunet and Josey Scoville or their whereabouts, is urged to call Belleville police at 608-424-3129.

For more information on Briarpatch and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, go to www.youthsos.org.