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Family fears missing teen may be in danger

Mary Couch, left, and her daughter Shirley, 13, hang a sign asking for information about Shauna Jo Maxine Couch, 16, missing since Jan. 7.(Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

[1/15/04]]Family members say they are desperate to find a 16-year-old girl reported missing for a week because she needs her medicine.

Vicksburg police have termed the case a runaway and said they don’t suspect violence, but added they are following every lead.

Shauna Jo Maxine Couch was last seen Jan. 7 getting into a gray car on East Avenue, not far from her MacArthur Drive home.

She is described as white, 5-foot-2 and 130 to 140 pounds with light brown hair and eyes. She was wearing a dark blue jacket, gray short-sleeved hooded shirt, yellow tank top, blue jeans and black sandals.

“She has had some health problems for quite a while,” said Ron Couch, her grandfather.

He said Shauna Jo has been taking medications, but she didn’t have them with her. “We know she is not taking it because she left it,” Couch said.

He said Shauna Jo’s parents had been planning to move to Missouri and she did not want to go. They believe she left home, saying she was going to a neighbor’s residence, but didn’t.

“She walked around the corner with this young man they called Too Tall and she was never seen again,” Couch said, adding it was Too Tall who said Shauna Jo got into the gray car.

“She is really not prepared to be out on her own,” Couch said.

Although a neighbor reported a call from an unidentified person who claimed the girl was not being harmed, Couch said the neighbor did not get a name or a phone number and the call was not reassuring.

“It was supposed to have been from a pay phone … we just don’t know. It could have been her, but we don’t know under what circumstances she made it,” Couch said.

He also said the family has received information from people that indicates the girl may be somewhere around Ethel or Marcus streets in Marcus Bottom.

Since Shauna Jo left home without additional clothes or her makeup, Couch said the family had heard someone at the River City Rescue Mission on Washington Street saw someone matching her description. She may have been there looking for clothing.

She was also reportedly seen at the Fast Lane convenience store on Indiana Avenue and at another convenience store.

Couch said the medicine is important.

“Without that, she could be a threat to others and to herself,” he said.

DeVon Gray, spokesman for the Vicksburg Police Department, said no leads have proven fruitful.

Neither Gray nor District Attorney Gil Martin would speculate on what charges could be filed against someone who may have Shauna Jo.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Martin said. “We won’t know until we find her.”

Gray said anyone who has any information about Shauna Jo or who believes they may have seen her should call the Vicksburg Police Department at 636-2511.