Acquitted teen murder suspect Joshua Young reported missing

Published: Sep. 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM EDT
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Joshua Young
Joshua Young

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A missing person report was filed Friday by the foster family of Joshua Young after the 17-year-old recently acquitted of murdering his stepbrother failed to return home.

Meanwhile, Young told WAVE 3 News reporter Cedra Mayfield by phone on Wednesday that he is doing fine and that, although he was in contact with Chuck and Susan Stoneburner earlier in the day, he did not plan to return to their home.

Chuck Stoneburner said he learned through family and friends on Wednesday that Young was doing all right. Stoneburner said heightened attention following Young's August 9 acquittal in the murder of 14-year-old Trey Zwicker had become too much for Young to handle. Stoneburner said he would like for Young to return to his foster home, but he indicated the family would not pressure Young and instead give him the time and space he said he needs.

Young was found not guilty of complicity to murder in Zwicker's May 2011 beating death. Young also was found not guilty of tampering with physical evidence.

Young was released to the Stoneburners after the verdict was read. The family released a statement the following week which read in part, "
It is amazing that Joshua is not bitter about all of the bad things that have happened to him in his life. Somewhere within himself he has found the strength to survive, forgive and move forward."

Young's father Josh Gouker pleaded guilty in May to murdering Zwicker and was sentenced to life in prison.

Zwicker's father Terry Zwicker expressed disappointment over Young's missing status.

As foster parents, the Stoneburners were required by law to report Young to police as missing.

"Any agency that has a contract to accept kids that are in the custody of the state in Kentucky are under a contract that mandates us to report when a child runs away or goes missing," said Therapeutic Loving Foster Care Director Stephanie Stone.

Stone said most often foster children who run away return on their own or are reported and returned by other family members.

"The foster family is familiar with their family and their connections," Stone said, "so they may have ideas of where the child has gone, and we would share those with the police when we file the missing person's report."

Stone said police then check the locations suggested by the foster child's known acquaintances and return the child to his or her foster family when he or she is located.

"Sometimes kids come back on their own," Stone said. "A lot of times that's actually how it happens."

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