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Chilliwack family blames RCMP for failing to return their daughter

A Chilliwack, B.C., family is furious with the RCMP for failing to return their 15-year-old daughter after police found the runaway teen at a downtown Vancouver hotel.

15-year-old Jehovah's Witness follower ran away from home after dispute with mother over religion

15-year-old Jehovah's Witness follower ran away from home after dispute over religion, but officers did not return the girl to her parents 2:29

A Chilliwack, B.C., family is furious with the RCMP for failing to return their 15-year-old daughter after police found the runaway teen at a downtown Vancouver hotel.

Jeff Wier and Candis McCarville-Wier are the legal guardians for Cassidy McCarville; Candis is also her biological mother. The teen became a Jehovah’s Witness two years ago but her parents are not followers, and that has been a point of strife between Cassidy and her parents.

Candis McCarville-Wier says she just wants her 15-year-old daughter, who ran away from home after a dispute over being a Jehovah's Witness, to come home and get counselling. (CBC)

Candis says her daughter has taken the religion too far — preaching door to door instead of doing her school work. When she tried to ground Cassidy on Tuesday night, preventing her from going to a Jehovah’s Witness meeting, the teen ran away from home.

Police were called and found Cassidy at the Vancouver hotel early Wednesday morning with friends from church.

“Cassidy told them she just wasn’t happy — ‘cause all 15-year-olds who are grounded are happy — and the cops left her with this woman, and my daughter is still not home,” said a visibly upset Candis.

The RCMP said they had no authority to seize the 15-year-old and return her to her parents because she was not in any danger and had not committed any crime.

We have no anger towards Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves, but Cassidy's involvement with them has been detrimental to her.- Jeff Wier

"I think probably the police are looking at this and saying it's futile," said family law expert Tracey Jackson. "'I can go find your child, bring the child home, and the child will just run away again. And I'm not going to do that 100 times — I have other things to do.'"

On Thursday night, Cassidy texted her parents, saying she had hopped a bus to the Okanagan and is now staying with a cousin.

In a telephone conversation with CBC News, Cassidy said she didn't run away — she was forced by her parents to choose between living under their roof and her Jehovah's Witness activities.

Jehovah's Witnesses are not supposed to associate with non-witnesses, but an elder told CBC News that they would never ask a child to leave their parents.

The family says they just want their daughter to come home, and get counselling.

“We have no anger towards Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves, but Cassidy's involvement with them has been detrimental to her,” Jeff said.

With files from the CBC's Natalie Clancy

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