South Lake Tahoe Police respond to family's allegations after son found dead

Dec 16, 2014 4:08 PM by KRNV

Police in South Lake Tahoe, California are denying accusations that race played a role in their search for a missing teen later found dead.

Dejon Smith, 14 disappeared Thursday night during a severe storm. Three days later a family friend and volunteer found him dead and frozen under a fallen tree branch.

His family and friends later said they felt letdown by police.

"Police just didn't give the effort," said Tyrone Brown, a family friend who found Dejon's body. "There's no way we should have found him before the police."

"Unfortunately in a tragedy like this, the family wants answers," says South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. David Stevenson. "It's tough and their efforts in this matter did help find him faster."

The family also wanted to know why an Amber Alert was not issued and a search team was not assembled.

"Regardless, it's really an irrelevant factor," said Stevenson. "Anytime we get a missing juvenile, we follow the same procedures."

According to the California Highway Patrol, Amber Alerts must meet criteria that involve an at-risk youth and a suspect on the run. Dejon's case did not meet those criteria.

Read more here.


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