Missing Parma teen Katarina Bitterman charged with inducing panic

Posted at 3:33 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 20:08:47-04

A teenager who was found after going missing from her Parma Heights home is now being charged with inducing panic. 

Katarina Bitterman, 17, went missing on March 4 and was found on at a home in Salem, Massachusetts on March 10. FBI agents in Boston also arrested a 19-year-old male who was living at the house.

According to Parma Police Captain Kevin Riley, both Bitterman and the 19-year-old man were charged with inducing panic because law enforcement in Massachusetts needed a charge to hold them. Parma Police detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and will be making arrangements to extradite the man back to Ohio.

Sources tell News 5 the pair met online. 

Bitterman's recovery brought an end to a six-day search that involved a large number of FBI, Parma police, Cleveland Metroparks Rangers and Parma Community Emergency Response Team Volunteers. 

Captain Riley said he could not yet quantify how many hours the department put into the search.

"There was a vast number of hours spent on this investigation," Capt. Riley said. 

Cleveland Metroparks spokesperson told News 5 that four rangers and two mounted officers participated in the search on March 7. On March 9, one officer and two K-9 officers also assisted. 

Facebook posts time stamped on Wednesday, March 8 revealed that at least some people were aware that Bitterman might be in Massachusetts as early as Wednesday, the day before a search was conducted in Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation. 

A person who was identified as a family member told News 5 they were messaged on Wednesday about Bitterman's possible whereabouts in Massachusetts. 

Parma police and the FBI told News 5 that information, if true, was never given to them.

"Any information that she was in Salem, Massachusetts prior to Friday evening when the FBI agents there in Boston found her there, that was never relayed to the Parma Police Department," Capt. Riley said. 

Parma police said Bitterman's parents told them Monday that they were unaware of that information. 

In a press release from Parma Police, the Bitterman family thanked the public for their thoughts and support. At this time, the family is asking for privacy and does not wish to be contacted.

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