Search continues for missing teen

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-27 23:56:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A father in Salt Lake City is pleading for help finding his 16-year-old daughter, who has been missing for almost two weeks.

Mharina Acciaio, 16, phoned home Tuesday July 16, but that was the last time anyone heard from the missing girl.

“I basically sleep like two hours a night and that’s it. And I’m up and I’m out looking for her until 4, 5, 6 o’clock in the morning,” said her father, Thomas Acciaio.

Mharina was dropped off downtown on the morning of July 16 by someone with the Division of Child and Family Services. The division has been working with the teen and her family for several months, according to Acciaio, who said he gave someone in the division permission to drop his daughter off where they did.

Surveillance video from City Creek Mall shows her getting on TRAX, but he said no one knows what happened to her after that.

“It’s not uncommon for us to give kids rides, again, if we have proper permission and we don’t feel like they’d be at risk, wherever we’re taking them,” said Liz Sollis, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Human Services.

One of the main concerns is that Mharina is supposed to be taking medication. Thomas Acciaio said his daughter suffers from bipolar disorder as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and he said without her medication she isn’t able to function.

“Like a child, a toddler,” Acciaio said.

He has spent the last week hanging fliers around downtown Salt Lake and traveling to nearby cities to find her.

“It's been pure hell,” he said. “Literally, I’ve been up at six o’clock every morning looking for her. It’s scary not knowing. I’m scared to death. I don’t know what to do about it.”

Acciaio asked anyone who sees his daughter to contact Salt Lake City Police. The teen is described as being about 5-feet 2-inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. She is pictured in the video above.

“That something bad is going to happen to her, that’s my biggest fear,” Acciaio said. “I try not to think about it. I have faith that she’s going to come home safe, you know.”

Salt Lake City Police officials said the teen was initially called in as a runaway, and officials said Saturday they weren’t sure if that classification had changed since that time.