RUTLAND, Vt. - A father’s plea to his 17-year old daughter: let us know you’re ok. Patrick and Janna Rodgers, of Rutland, asked Local 22 & Local 44 News for help getting the word out about their missing daughter.
"Aliyatt, she's very creative. She likes art. She likes music and she loves making jokes,” said Janna Rodgers, Aliyatt’s mother.
Aliyatt has not made contact with her friends or family since she left Rutland High School in mid-January.
Her father, Patrick, says she wasn’t living at home for a few weeks before she went missing.
“The school would call me 'Hey, Aaliyatt's not here. Aliyatt's not here.' And then after twice, it was like, I don't think she's coming back,” he said.
Her parents say Alyatt has run away several times over the past year after she started dating an older man.
Last year, she was entered several times into the National Crime Information Center missing person file, according to Rutland City Police.
Not only are her parents worried about her safety but also her health. Her inhaler, EpiPen and other medications remain at home waiting for her.
"It's like a sink feeling in your heart and it crush you,” said Janna Rodgers.
“I think she could also be in somebody's house and they're not even aware of what's going on. But if they see it on the news, ‘hey something's wrong’,” said Patrick Rodgers.
“At this point in time, I have no other reason to believe that she didn't leave on her own free will,” said David LaChance, commander of professional standards at Rutland City Police Department.
Commander LaChance says his team is working on finding Aliyatt every day.
They are unable to locate Aliyatt through a previously-known cell phone number.
"We believe at this time that she is on her social media sites and we are investigating that aspect," said Commander LaChance.
"Do you think you're doing enough to find her?” asked Local 22 & Local 44 News reporter Staci DaSilva.
“Sometimes, you feel that if you don't solve something right away - 'are you doing everything we can?'” said Commander LaChance. “How can we not find a 17-year old girl when we're the police? But we are, and I think the father understands, the family understands that are are doing everything possible."
In the last 5 years, juveniles in Vermont ran away from home at least 359 times, according to Vermont State Police records.
Commander LaChance says always call police right away if you’re teenager goes missing.
“We do it with young kids, we do it with 5-year olds, 3-year olds but the teenagers...things can happen to them,” he said. “It's not like years ago where you had to wait 10 days or 30 days until police would do anything. It's not like that anymore, ok?"
Both Commander LaChance and the Rodgers have a message for Aliyatt.
"She needs to contact us,” said Commander La Chance. Nobody's saying she has to go back home. If there's issues, or anything else that they need to, she can do that. Call us. We won't run back to dad if it's something she's worried about getting back to her father.”
“Aliyatt, just please contact us, please call,” said Janna Rodgers.
“You don't have to necessarily call me or your mother. At least call somebody in the family and let them hear your voice, saying that you're ok. You don't have to tell us where you're at but let us know that you're ok. That's our main concern,” said Patrick Rodgers.
Anyone with information about Aliyatt is asked to contact the Rutland City Police Department at (802) 773 - 1816.
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