AURORA, Colo. – Aurora police are actively investigating an at-risk missing persons case. 20-year-old Shamari Scott was last seen near the 400 block of South Memphis Street. His family and friends fear for his safety. He has been in and out of police custody in recent months and they say the system has failed to provide him the help he needs.
Shamari suffers from intellectual disabilities and operates at a 10-year-old level according to Aurora Police.
Two weeks ago, he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent exposure and one count of theft. He was sentenced to eight years of supervised probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.
His mother, Kirsten Scott said, “I think it`s incredibly sad to see how the system works. He needs somebody that is a trained professional to help him through these things, help him through these urges, to keep him safe and keep the community safe.”
She said there is no way he was competent to make the decision to plead guilty. “He has an intellectual disability, he has an IQ under 70 ... it`s 67 and he has fetal alcohol syndrome. The fetal alcohol syndrome creates the urges and when he has the urges and a cognitive level of a 10-year-old, he does not know how to make the right decisions.”
The same day he was released from custody in Douglas County, he was picked up for an outstanding warrant in Denver.
He declined to have a public defender. His friends say he is not capable of representing himself or navigating the criminal justice system alone.
Ashley Racich was a coach of his for Special Olympics. “I think the biggest frustration is feeling a blind eye turned to it. We have raised so many flags. We provided documentation and testing. It’s not just our opinion. We have been turned away. It feels simply like they just want to close a case.”
There is help for people like Shamari.
In Arapahoe and Douglas County, The Arc has been advocating for inmates with disabilities for 65 years.
Carol Meredith, The Arc’s executive director said, “We still have some work to do in Colorado to get people the help they need.”
The Arc did not get involved until after Shamari was sentenced, but they were hoping to get him into a program that would help him and keep the community safe. They say it can be a lengthy process. Meredith said, “It`s a process, you have to go through eligibility, you have to get paperwork approved. We will pull it together for as long as we can til we get through the bureaucracy.”
Shamari’s mother understands what he did was wrong, but she believes the criminal justice system is not set up to help people like him. And she prays it is not too late to find help. “There`s a lot of Shamaris out there. And they need help. Shamari didn`t ask for this to happen to him. He didn`t do anything. His birth mother did that. My husband and I have just tried to support him through this. He didn`t ask for this, but he`s getting punished for it.”
If you know where Shamari Scott is, call Aurora Police or 911.