Tulsa Family Thankful After Kasey Alert Leads To Missing Woman Being Found

Police say Katie Vaclaw was at a special needs prom at the Cox Business Convention Center in downtown Tulsa last Friday night and went to the restroom and never came back.

Monday, February 12th 2024, 5:04 pm



A Tulsa woman with special needs has been found safe after being missing for three days.

Police say Katie Vaclaw was at a special needs prom at the Cox Business Convention Center in downtown Tulsa last Friday night and went to the restroom and never came back. OHP issued a Kasey Alert for her Monday afternoon.

We talked with Katie’s family minutes after Katie was found safe. Katie's whole family is relieved. Katie’s brother says she was found at a shelter in Tulsa after someone recognized her from the news.

“It was the best news possible to hear she is alive and safe because for three days we have had just no idea what’s been going on, where she’s been, what she’s gone through,” said Katie’s brother, Tyler Vaclaw.

Tyler and his six other siblings are thankful for everyone who jumped in to help find their sister Katie. He says Katie was at the Night to Shine prom at the Cox Business Convention Center Friday night and she got some bad news and ran away. Tyler says unfortunately this isn't the first time Katie has run away.

“When you have a sibling with special needs, you just don’t know what might happen. We are very fortunate that good people have come up and done great things but it’s exhausting to not know where she is, what condition she’s in,” said Tyler.

Tyler says Katie has Prader-Willi syndrome which makes Katie constantly hungry. He says her stomach is always telling her brain she needs food. Tyler says Katie has been in a state-run program, under 24/7 care for more than 20 years.

“When she can’t get it, her drive is to leave. To get out so that she can get it.” Her focus is on food and nothing else,” said Tyler.

Tyler says this took a toll on his family, but they just can't wait to see Katie and hug her again.

“It is mentally, and physically exhausting but again we can’t thank everybody enough. We thank God it’s a good story to be sharing and not one that is the thought we wanted to avoid,” said Tyler.

What is a Kasey Alert?

The Kasey Alert is a statewide alert for adults between the ages of 18 and 59 who are considered critically missing or abducted. The notifications are named after Kasey Russel, a 29-year-old Tahlequah man and Cherokee Nation citizen who went missing in 2016.

Kasey Alerts are meant to help police find adults who go missing under suspicious circumstances.

The new system went into effect in 2023 thanks to House Bill 1077. Oklahoma lawmakers said the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women organization, tribal programs, loved ones and their families all played a part in the law passing.

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