SEATTLE - Kitsap County authorities are curious how a missing teen with amnesia got from Washington state to New York City, but since the case is not criminal, the investigation is now out of their hands.
Now that Kacie Peterson, 18, has been found and is known to be safe, what happens next is up to her family and New York authorities, Kitsap County sheriff’s detective Scott Wilson said Monday.
The New York City police said Peterson’s case has been referred to the the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. An agency spokeswoman said Monday that Peterson was still in New York and that they won’t be giving out information about her case.
Most missing-person cases involve an elderly person with cognitive issues who wanders away from caregivers, Wilson said, adding that the second most common involves a toddler. Calls about older teens – especially those with amnesia – are rare.
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These cases are also difficult to investigate, because Peterson, who was last seen in Washington at Kingston High School during the last week of September, is an adult and could have decided she needed a vacation or was having trouble at home.
“This was more of a seek-and-find,” Wilson said of the young woman who was reported missing on Oct. 2.
The evidence in this case points clearly to a young woman with a recurring health problem, he said.
Peterson has been treated for amnesia, including an incident in May, her father, Henry Peterson of Colville, told investigators. Authorities found no evidence of coercion or kidnapping.
She left everything at the house where she was staying with a family friend in Hansville, including her purse, her wallet and her cell phone.
Investigators didn’t have a lot of information until someone identified her by calling the New York police tip hot line after seeing her picture in the news, Wilson said.
“I just want to know who I am,” Children’s Services quoted the young woman as saying last week. “I want to know who I am and what happened to me.”
She was picked up by New York police outside a shelter near Times Square on Oct. 9 and had no memories of her name, home or family, Wilson said.