Missing teens intended to see X Games

February 2, 2009 1:12:34 PM PST
A 14-year-old Los Altos boy and 13-year-old Saratoga girl who went missing together last week drove to Colorado in an attempt to see the ESPN Winter X Games but arrived a week late, Los Altos police Sgt. John Korges said today.

Los Altos resident James Palmerson, 14, and Saratoga resident Roslyn Marshall, 13, went missing without explanation the morning of Jan. 25, Korges said.

Palmerson, who lives with his grandparents, took his grandfather's wallet and gray 2005 Honda Civic and went to pick up Marshall, who lives with her parents.

James' friends told police he had been packing things in a duffle bag and planning for a week or two to leave town, Korges said.

Friends of the teens told investigators James planned on heading to Utah, Las Vegas or Colorado.

Investigators tried to figure out what might attract the teens to those destinations. They visited the Chamber of Commerce Web site for the city of Aspen and saw the Winter X Games were taking place there, Korges said today.

However, the X Games, which were held from Jan. 22 through Jan. 25, had already ended, so investigators were at a loss for why the teens would leave California for chilly Colorado.

The two were finally found in Palmerson's grandfather's car in a parking lot of a mall in Lakewood, Colo. the night of Jan. 27. The temperature outside was about 5 degrees with a wind chill factor that brought it to 0, Korges said.

Palmerson's uncle flew out to Colorado to pick up the car and his nephew, and when James returned he apparently said during a debriefing that he had intended to see the Winter X Games, according to Korges.

"They went out for the X Games and missed it by a week," Korges said. "It's kind of like 'You're kidding me' was the first thing I said."

James and Roslyn, believed to be romantically involved, apparently met at a dance or other social event and had known each other for a few weeks. Korges said the two had never been on a date before their out-of-state trip.

Both teens are now back at home, and police have not charged James because he was not seen driving the vehicle and his grandfather declined to press auto theft charges.

Korges said the investigation ended well, considering a 14-year-old with no driving history traveled across state lines in cold weather and in bad conditions.

"I'm just grateful that it turned out the way it did," Korges said. "This really could have had a bad ending."