Missing Teens Found Safe After Suicide Scare

Catasauqua Police Chief reports boy and girl, both 16, found safe this evening

A boy and girl, each 16, were found safe early Friday evening following a suicide scare that prompted a 30-person search on and  around the Lehigh River from Hokendauqua to Allentown.

Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Kish called Patch at 5:30 p.m. Friday to report that Mariah Lopez of Catasauqua and Warren Houtling of North Catasauqua are OK. Kish did not say where or how the teens were found.

Police radio transmissions shortly after 5:30 p.m. indicated the teens were being taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital's Muhlenberg Campus for treatment of possible mental health issues.

 The Morning Call interviewed the mother of Mariah Lopez and she said the girl's phone was on briefly in the Whitehall area Friday afternoon. Police repeatedly tried "pinging" the cells phones of the teens to track them down.

Lopez and Houtling each left a suicide note in their home Thursday night. The notes led officials to believe the couple may have jumped off a bridge into the rain-swollen Lehigh River.

Emergency crews staged operations at the Catasauqua Wastewater Treatment Plant by the Race Street Bridge for about seven hours Friday. Crews searched the riverside at the Pine Street Bridge and bridges in Hokendauqua and Coplay south to Union Boulevard in Allentown.

The search included members of the Northampton, Whitehall, Catasuqua and Allentown fire departments, as well as Allentown EMS and Lehigh County technical crews. Officials requested aerial support from Pennsylvania State Police but were not able to use aircraft because of poor weather.

Carl W May 22, 2011 at 04:30 AM
12:24am on Sunday, May 22, 2011 Just a note - people may feel suicidal a lot, and every second of it should be taken seriously. Studies have shown that generally, the actual decision to do it doesn't last more than 4 hrs. As a former crisis counsellor, now matter how often someone says they're suicidal, even if repeatedly for years, NEVER take it lightly. At anytime, they could drop to the "I'm just going to do it" level. If friend or stranger appears they've hit that level, try anything you can to keep them occupied for that 4 hrs. (If on phone, talk about ANYTHING that keeps them on that phone, and don't be short on honest compliments). 4 hrs. is the max, sometimes it's over in 15-20 minutes. Take the time to care!


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