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Police: 16-year-old girl who ran away from foster home shot, killed by 17-year-old in West End

Desire Coston
Posted at 9:54 AM, Dec 29, 2021

CINCINNATI — A 17-year-old is facing murder charges for the death of a Western Hills High School student.

The Cincinnati Police Department said 16-year-old Desire Coston died Tuesday from injuries she sustained in a shooting on W. 9th Street Christmas morning. Police arrested and charged a 17-year-old with her murder, and the prosecutor's office said it will file a motion to have the teen tried as an adult during the arraignment.

In a Dec. 3 news release, police said Coston ran away from her foster home in Evanston. CPD said Coston's foster mom reported her missing on Dec. 1. According to the release, Coston texted her foster mom from an unknown number and said she was not returning home and wanted to stay with her aunt.

Coston did return home on her own Dec. 13 after last being seen on Nov. 27. Two days later, Cincinnati police got another runaway report on Coston. Police said it was thought she was staying with her cousin.

"The Western Hills High School community is devastated by the loss of one of our students this week," a Cincinnati Public Schools spokesperson said in a statement.

While her foster family declined to comment and Ohio Family Services did not return messages, child advocate Holly Schlaack, a former Hamilton County case worker and author of two books focused on the struggles of foster children, said she wants more than justice.

"I have a very personal response to that because these are the most vulnerable members of our society," Schlaack said. "They belong to no one but everyone at the same time...how are we trying to deal with that trauma? These are things that are preventable, you know, and it really is a community response, not to point fingers but to just really look at the issues and say where can we help and what can I do?"

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