Law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois are looking for a missing Skokie teen who may have run away from home to avoid an arranged marriage.
Skokie Patch reports that 16-year-old Zaineb Chaudhary was reported missing on March 11, and has not been in contact with her friends since March 12. Police at the time said that Chaudhary left voluntarily due to tensions with her parents, and Fox Chicago reported this week that those tensions might have been caused by plans for an arranged marriage.
From Fox Chicago:
"Well we have a girl, raised here in the United States, being raised here in a different culture than where her parents are from, trying to accept the Western ways here," Officer Tammy Jacobsen of the Skokie Police Department said.
A joint investigation between the Skokie and Illinois State Police Departments indicates Chaudhary's father visited Pakistan in October.
"He has stated that he was there, looking for marriage arrangement for his daughter," Jacobsen said.
Police told Patch that Chaudhary may have fled to El Monte, Calif. to meet a 39-year-old man she met online. She reportedly told the man she was 19-years-old.
Skokie police told Fox that Chaudhary may be afraid to return home since some Pakistani women are killed for refusing to agree to an arranged marriage. Her 13-year-old sister, however, said she should not be afraid to come home.
"I just want her to know that she can come home and we're not going to like hurt her or anything because we just want her to be happy and we want her to be safe," Chaudhary's 13-year-old sister, Maryam Chaudhary, told Fox Chicago.
The Skokie Police Department is working in conjunction with Illinois State Police on the case, and have also utilized Critical Reach Bulletins and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Police in Skokie urged the runaway teen to contact law enforcement, and said they would work with her if there is any reason she is afraid to return home.
Chaudary, who attends Niles North High School, is 5-foot-4 and 123 pounds with long black hair and a medium complexion. Anyone with information as to her whereabouts is asked to contact the Skokie Police Department at (847) 982-5900.
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