Boise & Garden City

Family fears for missing Boise teen: ‘We don’t know when this will end’

Sierra Bush
Sierra Bush

Nothing about Sierra Bush’s disappearance made sense, said Bart Green, Sierra’s stepfather, who’s a Meridian attorney.

“She has never exhibited any signs of mental health problems,” Green said Friday. “She’s never, to our knowledge, engaged in any risky behavior or shown any propensity to run away. She has never shown any signs of suicidal ideation or depression. She has always been a very timid, introverted, very studious individual.”

So on Sept. 27, a text from Sierra’s biological father shocked Green’s wife, Mary Helen Green.

“The message said, ‘When you have a chance, give me a call. I have not seen Sierra since Sunday morning,’ ” Green said.

And Bart Green has a strong feeling about what happened: “Mary Helen and I have felt from the very beginning that this is an abduction case.”

Until Friday morning, Bush was one of two Boise women reported missing in the last two weeks. The other woman, 37-year-old Melissa Mariscal, was found dead Friday in the New York Canal south of Boise. No foul play is suspected in Mariscal’s death.

The Boise Police Department says Bush was last seen Sept. 24 near the home of a family member, not far from Maple Grove and Goddard roads in Boise. According to the Idaho State Police missing persons list, she is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 123 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes.

Boise police aren’t saying whether the 18-year-old’s disappearance is being investigated as a possible abduction.

“It’s all under investigation,” spokeswoman Haley Williams said Friday. “They look at any possibility and try to figure out what happened.”

We don’t know if the perpetrator or perpetrators have her key to our house. And anyone who’s capable of going into a residence and abducting a young woman, who knows what they might do or their next step might be?

Bart Green, stepfather of Sierra Bush

Several recent disappearances of teens in the Treasure Valley have involved runaways, at least when law enforcement asked the public’s help in the search. In August, a 16-year-old girl from Nampa was found hiding in a basement. A 17-year-old girl in Mountain Home was reported as a runaway in March and found safe in April. A 16-year-old girl reported as a runaway from the same town in June 2015 still hasn’t been found, according to ISP’s listings.

But in many of those cases the teen was reported as a runaway from the start.

The days since Bush’s disappearance have worn heavily on her family members’ nerves. The first couple of nights, Green said, he and his wife didn’t sleep. Even now, he said, he sometimes wakes up after a few hours and turns over in his mind what he might be doing to improve the chances of finding Sierra.

“We continue to function,” Green said. “You feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach and you just have this empty, hollow feeling. It’s, I think, 10 times harder on my wife. Sierra is her only begotten child. So you can imagine what that must be like for a mother.”

Green complimented Boise police officers, calling them “very professional and very diligent” and saying they are doing everything they can to find Sierra. He declined to talk about details for fear of compromising the investigation.

“We don’t know when this will end or how long it will go on, whether we’ll get answers in a matter of hours or days or weeks or months, or if it’s going to go on for years,” Green said. “The tears come and go. Obviously, Mary Helen is crying more than I am. I’m trying to be strong for her, but you know, as much as you try to function and stay in control, the emotions come and go.”

Sven Berg: 208-377-6275, @IDS_SvenBerg

Kristin Rodine contributed.