Missing Hampden teen found safe in Palmer - KCTV5 News

Missing Hampden teen found safe in Palmer

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Dephon Martowski, 16, of Hampden, went missing on June 4, but he was found safe in Palmer, police said Friday.

He had been living in Hampden with his foster family while under the supervision of the Department of Children & Families.

Martowski hadn't told anyone where he was going, which was something out of the ordinary for him.

Hampden Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth said Martowski's foster family did exactly what they were supposed to and contacted both the DCF and police.

During the time of his disappearance, police contacted the DCF themselves for help in the search, but Farnsworth said they were not being responsive to the department.

"The detective in charge made a couple phone calls. He got a voicemail one evening from a worker, but no other calls were received from them," Farnsworth said. 

The detective was reaching out to DCF to see if they had any information in regards to Martowski's blood relatives, which could have led police to his whereabouts faster.

However, according to Farnsworth, they just kept getting voicemail after voicemail.

"I'm pretty astounded that a police department can't get a call back when one of their children goes missing," Farnsworth said. 

It wasn't until five days later when he called the DCF interim commissioner directly that police finally got a response.

Farnsworth said that was five days wasted in the search to bring Martowski home.

"We're trying to do our part, but it's frustrating that the chief of police has to get involved and make a call to Boston to try to get an answer on something that should have been a call to us immediately," Farnsworth explained. 

"We need cooperation and responses from everybody involved as quickly as possible," he continued.

CBS 3 also reached out to the DCF's headquarters, but an answering machine told us they were closed for the day.

Martowski's disappearance came just months after Jeremiah Oliver, 5, of Fitchburg, who was also monitored by DCF, was reported missing last September.

His remains were later found off Interstate 190 in Sterling.

However, in this case, Hampden police did not believe Martowski was in any serious danger, but they did want him to return back home safely.

"We have a responsibility to these children to find them. If the agency ultimately in charge of their care can't effectively interact with law enforcement, how are they going to get found?" Farnsworth asked.

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