Beaverton Police have located three of the four missing Ethiopian track and field athletes, according to University of Oregon Police Department spokesman, Kelly McIver.
Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, Dureti Edao and Meaza Kebede were spotted in the Portland suburb of Beaverton on Monday afternoon. The missing persons case for those three is now closed. Zeyituna Mohammed is still being sought.
University spokeswoman Julie Brown said that the university’s involvement in those three cases is now also closed.
“Any other steps that they may be taking would involve other law enforcement agencies and won’t involve the university,” Brown said.
The four athletes — one 17-year-old male and three 18-year-old females — went missing sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The school first noticed the athletes missing that morning when they weren’t in their assigned rooms at the university’s residence halls.
UOPD led the investigation since and had reportedly made contact with people close to the athletes on Monday but could not verify anything.
“The problem is that when you’re talking to someone over the phone you can’t verify that people are who they say are,” McIver said in a phone interview Monday. “We need them to come forward and positively confirm their identity to say, ‘Yep, they’re safe and they’re here by choice,’ and so they can continue what they want to do here in Oregon.”
Eugene Police Department, Portland police and the FBI have assisted, as well.
The popular assumption has been that the athletes are seeking asylum in the United States and fled to Portland, which boasts a large Ethiopian population and is where the Department of State offices are located. Ethiopians are the third largest group to receive asylum by the United States, according to 2012 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics as mentioned by The Oregonian.