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3 escaped teenagers from Wilder Youth Development Center spotted as police continue search

A view of the sign outside the John S. Wilder Youth Development Center along Highway 59 in Somerville, Tennessee.

Police are looking for three teenagers, all 17 years old, who escaped from the Wilder Youth Development Center in West Tennessee.

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services officials discovered that three teens had escaped Saturday night from the Wilder Youth Development Center in the Fayette County town of Somerville, according to a Sunday email to The Commercial Appeal from Alex Denis, DCS Director of Communications.

DCS then notified local police of the missing teens.

“We will continue to work closely with law enforcement until they are apprehended,” Denis said in the email.

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Teenagers apparently spotted by local resident

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ray Garcia said a resident called the office at 9:35 p.m. Saturday about three men running through the resident’s backyard. The sheriff’s office called the Wilder Youth Development Center and asked if any children were missing, Garcia said.

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Garcia said Wilder’s staff were unaware of the missing youth and would do a staffing.

At approximately 10:10 p.m., the youth center called the sheriff’s office and said three teens were missing.

“While searching the area, deputies were stopped at 12:17 a.m. in the 500 block of Old Jackson Road by a resident who stated that his Jeep Grand Cherokee had been stolen,” Garcia said. “At 11:03 p.m., a camera (license plate recognition) showed the stolen vehicle heading west on Highway 64 in Shelby County.”

The three escapees are all 17 years old and are still at large, Garcia said.

The Somerville Police Department posted on Facebook Saturday afternoon that the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office warned people to “watch for 3 escapees from the Wilder Youth Development Center.”

Somerville police describe the three male teens as wearing gray sweatpants and gray shirts. The missing teens were last seen near Jefferson Drive and Armory Road, police said.

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The Wilder Youth Center has a history of teen escapes from the facility, investigations of abuse, and poor conditions at the center.

Police are asking residents to call 911 or 901-465-3456 if the teens are seen.

This story will be updated.

Dima Amro covers the suburbs for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmroDima.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Police Search for Teen Escapees from Wilder Youth Development Center

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