Family of missing Kokomo teen frustrated with response 1 year after girl’s disappearance

Karena S. McClerkin

KOKOMO, Ind. – The grandmother of a Kokomo teen who’s been missing for a year says she’s frustrated by the lack of answers about what happened to her granddaughter.

Karena McClerkin, 18, was last seen walking in the 1000 block of South Washington Street just south of Kokomo’s downtown area on Oct. 11, 2016.

Police sent an alert about her disappearance, but since then, her family hasn’t gotten many answers.

Kerena’s grandmother, Gerry McClerkin, told the Kokomo Tribune that she still searches areas of Kokomo multiple times a week in hopes of finding any trace of Karena. She’s convinced her granddaughter, who would’ve celebrated her 19th birthday last month, is dead.

McClerkin said Kokomo police have provided her with only a small amount of information about Karena’s case. She’s disappointed with what she sees as the lack of response from the community.

“I am ashamed of Kokomo, Indiana, for not stepping up to help find this child,” she told the Kokomo Tribune. “She has a right to be found. I don’t care what color she is or what she was doing. She is a human being and she has the right to be found.”

She said the response to her granddaughter’s disappearance pales in comparison to other cases, including the overwhelming reaction to the murders of two teens in Delphi.

The Kokomo Police Department posted an update on the case to its Facebook page Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of Karena’s disappearance. The department opened a missing persons investigation on Oct. 13, 2016, and said the case remains active.

Anyone with information should call Sgt. Jon Webster at (765) 456-3324 or the Kokomo Police Department Hotline at (765) 456-7017.