ROY, Wash. - In her short life, Caitlyn Bell has battled mental health issues and pancreatic cancer.
Her parents have struggled right along with her.
Caitlyn's father, Scott Bell, described not knowing where she is as, “Worse than even the cancer treatments.”
Caitlyn Bell left an Olympia group home in Olympia May 31. She has not contacted her family since.
While she may have left the home by choice, they do not think she is safe on her own.
“She doesn’t have any street smarts,” said Scott Bell.
Caitlyn’s parents hoped police would take advantage of a newly passed law allowing authorities to activate an alert, like an Amber Alert, but for endangered teens and adults who suffer from developmental disabilities or mental health issues.
Olympia police said Caitlyn’s case did not meet the criteria for the alert because the evidence suggests she ran away voluntarily.
“Law enforcement only uses them in selected cases. We’re very careful to follow the guidelines so the public doesn’t get used to them and therefore ignore them,” said Olympia police spokeswoman Laura Wohl.
An Olympia police detective was assigned to the case when Bell was reported missing. Wohl said it’s an active investigation. She said the detective went to another county following a lead Wednesday.
The family has released a video Caitlyn made last November to generate interest in her disappearance: