After a month, Richmondville teen is still missing

Amanda Putorti,

— Photo from Carlie Putorti

Amanda Putorti, 16, has been missing from her home in Richmondville for over a month. This is the most recent photo her sister had of her.

RICHMONDVILLE — A 16-year-old girl from Richmondville has been missing for a month since disappearing from her foster home, say police who believe she is still in the area since she’s been sighted in passing recently.

Amanda Putorti was last seen at her foster home on March 1 after her foster mother had woken up sometime between midnight and 4 a.m. and found her missing, said her sister, Carlie Putorti, who is 20.

“It’s a runaway situation,” explained Trooper Mark Cepiel, the public information officer for state police Troop G. He said Monday that she has still not been found.

According to Cepiel, Amanda’s foster parents called police to say that she was no longer in her room, and that a ladder was leaning against her bedroom window. She also appeared to have packed her belongings, he said.

On Thursday, April 5, the New York State Police announced in a three-sentence press release that Putorti’s departure was being investigated by state police in Cobleskill, and that Putorti has been missing since March 1, 2018. The recent press release was created and announced last Thursday as part of the search process, said Cepiel.

Richmondville, located in Schoharie County, is about 30 miles west of the Hilltowns of Berne and Knox.

Carlie Putorti said she had spoken to her sister on Facebook Messenger around 8:30 p.m. the night before she left to ask how she was. Amanda said she was “OK,” but Carlie Putorti says she is not sure how her sister was really feeling at the time. The Enterprise talked to Carlie Putorti the afternoon of April 5 and also called the state police after which the press release was issued.

Carlie Putorti has no idea where her sister intended to go, and says no one knows why she left.

“Troopers have been working on the case,” said Cepiel. He said that friends and family of Amanda have been interviewed by the state police.

Cepiel said that Amanda called her biological father, Joseph Putorti, on March 2 to say she was safe.

Last week, Amanda called her father; her mother, Michelle Pickett, and her sister. She used a private number and didn’t identify where she was, said her sister.

Carlie Putorti said her sister spoke with her for about eight minutes.

“You’re 16; this isn’t safe,” Carlie Putorti said to her. Amanda hung up and called again about two minutes later.

“I don’t want to argue with you, but I love you,” Carlie Putorti recalled Amanda saying to her.

Carlie Putorti said she paused briefly because she thought her sister had more to say. When Amanda didn’t say anything else, Putorti replied that she loved her too. Her sister hung up again.

The same day she vanished, Amanda’s boyfriend “also kind of disappeared,” said Carlie Putorti. He was seen again on March 6 in Middleburgh by an acquaintance who then contacted Carlie Putorti, who called the police. The police questioned the boyfriend, who said he did not know where Amanda is, said Carlie Putorti.

Cepiel said that a boy might be involved and may be with Amanda. In response to Carlie Putorti’s comments about her boyfriend, Cepiel said that a male individual was questioned by police but that there wasn’t an indication that he was a boyfriend.

In the past week, said Cepiel, other police have seen Amanda in passing. Based on these sightings, he said, it is surmisable that she is still in the area.

“It’s not like a Karen Wilson case,” he later said, referencing the University at Albany student who disappeared in 1985. While Wilson was last seen in a parking lot and is believed to have been kidnapped, Amanda appeared to have left of her own accord, and there is no reason to suspect foul play, he said.

Amanda was placed in foster care in October 2016, and has lived in two different foster homes and was not happy there, her sister said.

“She was angry … She wanted out,” she said.

Carlie Putorti said her sister ended up in the foster-care system after what she described as “kind of a mess of a living situation.” Their mother and stepfather were separating, and Carlie Putorti was going to attend college and moved to Schenectady to live with their grandmother. Amanda came with her.

“My sister is very stubborn … ,” said Carlie Putorti. “She didn’t get along with my grandmother.”

Carlie Putorti said she is still not sure how it happened, but Amanda was then placed in foster care.

“It’s been downhill since she began,” she said of her sister being in foster care. She said Amanda will likely be moved to a group home once she is found.

Julie Sammons, the services coordinator for Schoharie County’s Department of Social Services, said that there are about 46 children in the county’s foster care system. The county has a population of about 31,000. She said that the goal is to keep children in one home, but that certain circumstances can lead to children having to move. This can range from a family tragedy, relocation due to a job, behavioral issues, or space requirements.

Carlie Putorti said that Amanda is 5 feet, 1 inch tall, weighs about 140 pounds, and has blonde hair and blue eyes with glasses. She will be turning 17 this month. Anyone with information should call the New York State Police, Carlie Putorti said.

“I just hopes she’s OK,” she said. “I just wish she would call.”


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