Authorities 'very concerned' for safety of missing 17-year-old Parma teen

PARMA, OH (WOIO) - The Parma Police Department and agents from the Cleveland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are trying to find 17-year-old Katarina Bitterman.

The law enforcement agents are treating the case as one of an endangered missing person.

Bitterman, a student at Normandy High School, was last seen March 4 around 2:30 p.m. walking away from her home on Augustine Drive in Parma.

She is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 120 pounds.

Capt. Kevin Riley from the Parma Police Department says authorities are treating the girl's case as that of an endangered missing person because no one, neither friends or family, have heard from her in more than four days.

"She hasn't reached out to anybody so, because of that fact, because nobody's heard from her she certainly could be in danger and we're treating it as an endangered missing person case until we find her," said Riley.

Bitterman also did not take her cell phone with her, and Riley said witnesses who saw the girl walking Saturday said she didn't appear to be carrying anything like extra clothes and did not seem to be in a hurry.

"The fact that she left her cell phone behind, didn't pack any clothing and what not obviously makes us very concerned for her safety especially because she's had no contact with her family and friends," said Riley.

Riley said that agents and officers are surveying area businesses to see if any surveillance cameras captured pictures of Bitterman before she disappeared.

Her boyfriend, Nathan Ziegler, spoke to Cleveland 19 News Wednesday with the hope that she might be found. He said he thought Bitterman was at a friend's house, but when he learned his girlfriend had gone missing he said he, "flipped out after that." Ziegler's mom said that she hasn't been able to sleep and her son hasn't been able to eat since Bitterman went missing.

Ziegler told Cleveland 19 his girlfriend is shy and never talked about leaving home except on vacation or after high school.

"I'm sick like I'm very worried like this is not her at all," said Ziegler.

When Cleveland 19 asked him what he thought happened to her he said, "I don't really want to think of anything right now. There's like a lot of opportunities possibility that could have happened and I don't really want to think of them."

Anyone with information is asked to call 440-885-1234, or their local FBI office.

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