Police: Missing Afghan Boy Was Homesick

Search Continues For Mohammed Karim Azizi

Indianapolis police said Friday morning that a 15-year-old boy from Afghanistan who has been missing since Thursday night was homesick and likely ran away.

Authorities have been in contact with the U.S. State Department and the FBI as the search for Mohammed Karim Azizi, 15, continues.

Azizi, an exchange student who was staying with a host family in Forest, Ohio, was with a group of FFA students from his exchange school, Riverdale High School, visiting Indianapolis for the National FFA Convention.

Indianapolis police Lt. Jeff Duhamell said Azizi has been in the country for two months and comes from a large family in Kabul, with seven siblings and a father who is a shopkeeper.

Police said the group was touring downtown Thursday night when Azizi told others he was going back to the bus at the Indiana Convention Center to head back to their hotel in Carmel.

The group said Azizi didn't show up by 8:45 p.m. and that police were notified at 9:45 p.m. The search was ongoing Friday afternoon.

"He doesn't know the area. At this point in time, there's nothing to suggest foul play or anything like that," said Indianapolis police Sgt. Linda Jackson.

There were several possible sightings of Azizi on East Washington Street, near Southeastern Avenue and Hamilton Avenue and on Brookville Road.

FFA officials brought the boy's belongings and luggage to police to look through, hoping it might provide some indication of where he went.

"There was information that when he was at the hotel up north, he went up to his room and got some things. Sure enough, when we checked his luggage, some articles are missing, so ... maybe he had planned this," Duhamell said. "Our officers are being vigilant out here looking for him. We're just asking the community if they see him, give us a call."

Police said he also cleaned out his locker at school, indicating his decision to leave was premeditated.

The boy has a cell phone with him, but it was apparently not turned on.

Police said his host mother was in Indianapolis on Friday to help with the search. His host father, Tim Conover, who was still in Ohio, told 6News that Azizi is a good kid.

"Of course we're worried for him," he said. "I mean, when you're his host family, you wonder about him, and you just want to make sure that he's safe."

Azizi is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 115 pounds. He was wearing a black leather coat with a fur collar, a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. He was also wearing a green John Deere baseball cap.

Azizi is believed to have his visa and passport with him.

"We've talked a little bit to some folks from FFA," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "They are concerned like everybody else."

FFA Chief Operating Officer Dwight Armstrong issued a statement Friday morning.

"Obviously, our first thoughts are toward locating this young man, who is a visitor to Indianapolis and to FFA," the statement read. “We are contacting all our advisors and will continue to assist IMPD in any way we can.”

Azizi's group from Ohio planned to return home after visiting Lafayette Friday.

Police asked anyone with information to call them at 317-327-3264.