26 Mar 2016
BROWARD COUNTY, Florida (SunSentinel) — The nearly three-month disappearance of a Plantation teenager almost came to an end when he was discovered sleeping in a bathroom at a Vero Beach hotel and turned over to authorities.
But Aage Jorgensen, 16, slipped out of their hands and remains missing.
Plantation Police Department Detective Phil Toman said Aage was found slumbering in the bathroom of a Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Vero Beach about 5 a.m. Tuesday last week.
The boy was not charged with any offense and was turned over to the Florida Department of Children and Families, he said.
According to a Vero Beach police report, Aage offered officers a false name, Cameron Manu, and refused to offer information about himself or his parents. At one point, he told authorities he was a “pathological liar” and recanted the bogus name he had given them, the report said.
When asked where he lived, he told officers “somewhere between the two parallel streets from here to [Interstate] 95,” it said.
Investigators turned Aage over to the state’s Department of Children and Families at 10:53 a.m., Vero Beach Police Officer Anna Carden said. He was photographed and fingerprinted by police, she said.
In that photo, Aage is wearing a black zippered jacket with either white or reflective stripes along the shoulder seams and a gray T-shirt with a Donald Duck image on it and gray shorts.
While in the care of the state agency, Aage, who had not been identified at the time, was taken to an office in Fort Pierce, Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes said.
But as the car stopped at the office, the teen jumped out of the car and ran away from staff, she said.
The agency alerted police and later learned it was Aage — the missing Broward boy — who escaped from them, Patterson-Hughes said.
“The welfare and safety of Aage is of the utmost importance to the Department,” she said. “Child protective investigators are working with law enforcement and his father to safely locate the teen.”
Meanwhile, Aage’s father, Bruce Jorgensen, is offering a $5,000 reward for the public’s help in finding his son, his attorney, Glenn Roderman, said.
“The good news is that obviously the boy is alive and healthy and moving around the Vero Beach area,” Roderman said.
According to the attorney, after Aage’s brief capture, Jorgensen learned from hotel staff that the boy had been moving between the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Vero Beach and one closer to Interstate 95.
The teen had been eating and sleeping at both hotels — in the men’s bathroom, computer station and other areas — in recent days, Roderman said.
Staff also said the teen blended in with a visiting baseball team that was there, so no red flags were raised, the attorney said.
Aage has been missing since Dec. 27 when his father kicked him out of the car during an argument. Bruce Jorgensen was charged with desertion of a child, but prosecutors dropped the charge earlier this month.
Jorgensen, who was arrested at Miami International Airport before boarding multiple flights to the Northern Mariana Islands east of the Philippines, was jailed for almost a month while being held on a $1 million bond. He told authorities he was headed to the North Pacific for a court hearing for which he was summoned — Jorgensen has for years worked as an attorney in the region.
This isn’t the first time Aage has gone missing. The teenager vanished in Hawaii for months about three years ago and again in Plantation sometime last year. He was found three weeks later at an arcade at the Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise.
After his most recent disappearance, Aage had been seen at least twice — first by a woman he sought a ride from shortly after his spat with his father on Dec. 27 and in January sleeping in the stairwell of a Plantation hotel, authorities said.
In December, Jorgensen did not report his son missing and instead passed out fliers with his child’s photo and hired a private investigator. It wasn’t until about two weeks later that police learned about Aage being missing from a security guard at the Hawk’s Landing gated community in Plantation, where the teen often played tennis.
According to his attorney, Jorgensen avoided getting the police involved because of Aage’s fear of getting arrested.
With the help of the FBI and the U.S. Embassy, police have gone so far as to obtain a tearful video-recorded plea from Aage’s mother in Palau, a tiny island in the North Pacific. In the message, she urges her son to not be afraid and seek help.
Authorities urge anyone with information on Aage’s whereabouts to contact law enforcement.