By Adam Leech
NEWTON - A local mother is asking for help locating her 16-year-old daughter who has been missing since Sept. 24 and who she believes is traveling with a band of gypsies.
Linda Bien said her daughter, Amanda Bien, is with her 15-year-old boyfriend who she says is one member of a family of scam artists from Salisbury, Mass. Linda said she wants to get her daughter home before the gypsy family leaves for Florida.
"I have to get my daughter out of there," said Linda. "I feel like she's in a cult ... and they have no respect for anyone or anything."
Linda said Amanda went to elementary school with her now-boyfriend when they lived in Salisbury and re-encountered him not long ago. Since then, Amanda, a junior at Sanborn Regional High School, doesn't want to go to school and has needed to be retrieved by police from Salisbury a number of times.
Amanda, who will be 17 years old next March, is 5 feet 6 inches tall and approximately 110 pounds. She has hazel eyes, brown hair and a pale complexion. She has pierced ears and a pierced navel and may be traveling with her boyfriend.
Any information regarding her whereabouts should be reported immediately to the Newton Police Department at 382-6774, or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at (800) 843-5678.
Police Chief Larry Streeter said Amanda has had 15 contacts with police, mostly with runaway issues and a variety of delinquency issues.
"She has been a repeated runaway, and it's a result of a relationship with a male companion," said Streeter. "We do not believe her disappearance was combative or hostile, but that doesn't take away from any possible endangerment she could face."
Streeter said the department has been in constant contact with the Salisbury Police Department, and Amanda has been broadcast by NCMEC as an endangered runaway. He said police have driven to the boyfriend's residency, but no one appears to be home.
Linda said she drives by the home every day, she calls every day, and has friends drive by the house every day, but either no one is there or the person answering says Amanda is not there.
"I just don't know what else to do," said Linda. "I miss her a lot. I'm really concerned and I just really want her home."
Linda said she had a great relationship with her daughter before Amanda got involved with her current boyfriend, which prompted a series of runaway attempts. On the morning of Sept. 24, after seeing her go to bed the night before, Linda said she woke up and Amanda wasn't in her bedroom.
Amanda called five days later to say she was OK, but didn't provide details as to where she was. Linda has not heard from her since then.
"I asked if she would come home and she didn't answer," said Linda. "And when I asked her where she was she got nervous and said she was with friends."
Linda said the gypsies, a close-knit family of more than a dozen, may not be allowing her to leave. But she also said they would give her lavish presents from scams they pull and allowed her to smoke cigarettes.
"I'm sure to a 16-year-old all the money and stuff is very appealing," she said. "But I want her home."
Linda said she has done everything she can do to try and get her daughter home and she fears she's running out of options.
"It's a heart-wrenching thing I never thought I'd have to go through," she said. "I'm glad to know she's OK. It's just all so frustrating."
Yet again Gypsies are equated as "scam artists" and as people steeling children, not that that young lady (oh dear) would qualify still as a child in most countries bar the USA. She is nearly 17 years old and in many countries she would be working already and in times past she would definitely be working by now or have a family.