SARANAC LAKE - Police and family members are trying to locate two teenage girls who apparently ran away from home five days ago.
Sammi Walker, 15, a ninth-grader at Saranac Lake High School, and her friend, Saranac Lake Middle School eighth-grader Brook Oakes, 14, disappeared from their homes sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The two live near each other on Old Lake Colby Road, according to Walker's older sister, Jackie Walker.
"The last (time) for sure that they were seen by either one of their parents was Friday evening," Walker told the Enterprise. "I guess Brook's father said she went to bed in her room, and the next morning, my dad went over to her house to let him know that Sam didn't come home that night. He wanted to see if Brook knew where she was because my dad knew they were close friends. When they went to go wake up Brook to talk to her, she wasn't home, either."
Jackie Walker said police have told her family that the girls were seen in Malone around 4 a.m. Saturday.
"This kid that is supposedly my sister Sam's boyfriend on Facebook, who is 18 and lives in Malone, said they left his house at 4 a.m. to go catch the bus," she said.
A message left with Oakes' father Wednesday wasn't immediately returned, but Jackie Walker said Oakes hadn't been living in Saranac Lake for very long. She said Oakes previously lived in Malone with her mother. Oakes' Facebook page says she's originally from Westville and went to Salmon River Junior-Senior High School.
Jackie Walker described her sister Sammi as "kind of rebellious" and said she had been in trouble lately at school and with her friends.
"I've talked to my dad, my grandma and my other sister that's very close in age to her, and everyone has the feeling that probably she and her friend ran away and are hiding out," Walker said. "The fact is, either way, it's a 14- and a 15-year-old girl with no resources, either one of them. That's the most discomforting thing. Neither one of them has cell phones, neither one of them probably had any money, neither one of them packed bags with clothes or anything, so I think at this point there's definitely some concern."
Friends and family have been trying to get the word out about the missing girls, posting and sharing photos of them and messages on Facebook and Twitter. Messages have also been posted on the wall of Oakes' Facebook page in the last few days, telling her to "come home" and "stop playing hide and seek."
State police Sgt. Glen Riggerman told the Enterprise this afternoon that police are involved in the search and believe the two girls ran away from home on their own. He confirmed that the girls left home sometime Friday night, but he didn't confirm the reported Malone sighting of them early Saturday morning.
Asked if police are appealing to the public for help in finding the girls, Riggerman said, 'We might try that option.
"At this point we've been following up with different friends and family," he said. "Every indication we're getting right now is these girls ran off and they just don't want to be found."
Saranac Lake Central School District Superintendent Gerald Goldman said he was aware that the girls were missing and that police were involved, "but we really don't know anything more about the situation than you do." Goldman said he couldn't comment on any trouble either of the girls may have been in at school.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.