Yasmine Acree left her home in the Austin Community and headed for school Tuesday morning Jan. 15. After school she went to the local YMCA to meet with her mentor, Tiffany Moore.
The 15 year old came home Tuesday evening, washed a load of clothes and went to her room. During the midnight hours she went missing. Her mother, Rose Starnes, believes burglars entered the home, but left with something more precious than gold- her daughter.
“Yasmine and I are very close,” Starnes said. “She didn’t run away.”
Locks were found cut off the home’s outside gate, and the basement door was forced open, Starnes said. Yasmine’s room, which is located in the basement, was left undisturbed.
“I’m not sure if she got up once she heard them enter the basement, and they took her or what happened. Yasmine is the only thing missing,” Starnes, a mother of three, said. “I don’t see anything missing downstairs. It’s like whoever came, came just for Yasmine.”
Yasmine is a freshman at Austin Polytechnical Academy, where, according to some friends, she joked about being “tired of life, tired of school, tired of everything.”
Rev. Ira Acree, Yasmine’s cousin and pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church, said the freshman came to church every Sunday with her mother. The last time Acree saw Yasmine, he recalled “It didn’t seem like anything was bothering her. She seemed very happy and jovial.”
“Yasmine is very mild-mannered and polite, you know the type that said ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am,'” he added.
“She’s a sharp kid, her verbiage was great for a 15 year-old. She has too much potential to be sidetracked, [has] a mother who loves her – strict or not- and a family that wants the best for her. She has a bright future and a wonderful personality.”
Her mother added, “Whoever has Yasmine probably think, they’ve gotten away with it because the police are saying ‘runaway’. Nobody in the family believes she ran away.”
Pastor Acree said he hopes that she was not abducted.
“If for some reason she ran away, whatever the issue, I pledge my support to help her resolve it.”
It’s been a couple of days since Yasmine’s family heard from police, and her mother believes, “They would’ve called if they had a suspect – I hope.”
“They may be doing the best they can, I don’t know. I’m holding on,” a distressed Starnes said. “It’s just physically and emotionally draining to just wonder. All kind of thoughts are going through my mind, because I don’t know where she is.”
The 1,300 congregation at Greater St. John Bible Church, 1256 N. Waller Ave., have held prayer visuals, and dispersed 2,000 flyers in the Austin Community. Partnering with area schools and residents, they’ve distributed 5,000 flyers in the shopping district on Madison and Pulaski. Acree, who’s also chairman of the Leaders Network, a group of clergy activists, are sponsoring a reward of $1,000 to anyone that can lead to Yasmine’s safe return.
In hopes that word reaches Yasmine, Starnes said: “I love you, I miss you and I want you back at home.”
Pastor Acree added, “We’re worried sick about you and your safety. Please come home, you will not be in trouble. I promise.”
“I’m still holding on to hope,” Acree stressed. “Because of so many caring people, I’ve been stunned by the support of so many. I believe God is going to use these people to bring Yasmin safely home.”
The family ask that if anyone has information leading to the safe return of Yasmine Acree, call Area 5 Police at 312/746-6399, or contact Greater St. John Bible Church at 773/378-3300.