Family of teen who escaped Juvenile Justice Center wants safe return

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Youngstown family is desperate to find their 17-year-old son and brother who escaped from the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center Wednesday morning.

The search for Jeremy Britton started just before 9 a.m. when he climbed over a barbed wire fence. Since then, his family has been frantic trying to track him down.

“All of us in our cars, driving around looking for him. Looking in places that we know where he goes, places where he might feel safe to go and that’s just it. It’s about being safe,” said Britton’s sister-in-law, Rachel Larkin.

Larkin’s worry can be seen all over her face and heard in her voice. She said they just want him found safe — whether it’s by them or police.

“We know that he’s scared and he’s not really sure what’s going to happen, but the best thing that can happen is for him to come home to any of us, call any of us. We all want to help you, we love you.”

According to police, after Britton made his escape, he then forced a woman out of her Cadillac near Youngstown State University and drove down the railroad tracks near Hubbard Road.

“He swerved at one of our Task Force officer’s car when we tried to block him in the road. He swerved at him, jumped the curb, then got away,” said Major Jeff Allen, with the Sheriff’s Department.

Britton had been in detention for less than a month on aggravated robbery charges linked to the Poland Burger King robbery.

“None of us are in his situation. None of us know what he’s thinking or what he’s feeling. We’re not mad, we’re worried, we’re scared but we’re not mad at all, none of us. We love him unconditionally,” Larkin said.

He is still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous. Police searched a wooded area off of Hubbard Road late Wednesday afternoon but came up empty.

“He’s not trying to hurt anybody, he doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He’s just scared of what might happen and not sure of what’s going to come out of all of this,” Larkin said. “He’s not going to hurt somebody and we don’t want him to get hurt either. Just come home safely.”

She said the family has been in constant contact with authorities.

Police said if you do spot Britton, do not make contact with him. Rather, call police or 911.