California Teacher Arrested and Charged With Hiding a Missing Teenager for Two Years

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A second-grade teacher from California was arrested and charged for hiding a teenager who went missing from his aunt’s home more than two years ago. The boy reappeared earlier this year in March.

Holga Castillo Olivares, 61, appeared in court on Monday for the disappearance of 17-year-old Michael Ramirez. According to the Rancho Cordova Police Department, she faces two charges, including detaining a minor to conceal them from their parents and contributing to a minor’s delinquency.

Police arrested Olivares on Thursday, October 20, after an investigation, that lasted several months, into the mysterious return of the 17-year-old to his home in Sacramento in March.

Michael Ramirez, who was only 15 when he disappeared, was last seen or heard from on May 18, 2020, as he left his aunt’s home in Rancho Cordova. He was officially reported missing a few weeks later, on June 9, when his family couldn’t find him, and he hadn’t returned home.

Police carried out an extensive search, but they were unable to locate the runaway teen.

Katte Smith, Michael’s aunt and legal guardian, told a local news outlet that she thought of the worst possible outcome when she realized he was officially missing.

Smith said Michael ran away from her home after they argued about house rules he did not want to follow.

When he finally showed up at his aunt’s house in March, Michael asked if he could move in with them again and, upon further questioning, told his aunt that he had gone to live at the home of his former childhood girlfriend. The mother of his former childhood sweetheart was the teacher, Olivares.

Michael’s aunt was furious with the 61-year-old teacher and said that she felt robbed of all the time she and her family were unable to spend with Michael, and added that nobody should hide someone else’s child and think it’s okay to do so.

The Rancho Cordova Police Department said Olivares is an employee at the Alice Birney Public Waldorf School, which is a part of the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Although the Sacramento City Unified School District’s spokesperson declined to talk about the teacher’s case, they said they had placed Olivares on administrative leave and would review the decision after the outcome of an investigation by the district.

The school district said the police took Olivares into custody after students had been dismissed from school for the day.

For almost two years, Michael lived in Olivares’ home, which police say is just 20 minutes from his home in Rancho Cordova. Reportedly, Olivares had been questioned by the police during the search for him. 

For two years, Michael was only 20 minutes away from his aunt’s home. 

During her first court appearance on Monday, the judge granted Olivares pretrial release without bail and ordered her to refrain from contacting Michael or his guardians. The judge also ordered Olivares to check in with the police twice every month and that she would be subject to random searches at any time.

Olivares’ next court appearance will be in December.

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