UT murder suspect's family says CPS partly to blame

Posted at 7:28 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-11 21:06:14-04

The embattled Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is coming under new fire after a local teen who ran away while in CPS custody is facing murder charges.

Many are wondering why the public wasn't alerted about the missing 17-year-old.

Officials with CPS told News Channel 25 that they reported Meechaiel Criner missing to Killeen police on March 24th.

Just ten days later, Austin police said he murdered University of Texas freshman, Haruka Weiser.

According to CPS, the organization has up to 24 hours to report a child who is missing, but after that they leave the case in the hands of local law enforcement.

Killeen police say they didn't release any public alerts on Criner because he was considered to be a runaway and didn't meet certain state issued requirements from DPS.

Despite all of the back and forth, Criner's grandmother, Mary Wadley, said CPS should have worked harder to keep him in their care.

“All I know is CPS was supposed to have him, because they said he wasn't 18 yet," Wadley said.

There is no word on if Killeen police was aware of Criner's mental health issues at the time of the missing persons report, or if that information may have impacted their decision to issue an alert.

Criner is being held on a $1 million bond and faces first degree murder charges in the case.

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