Family cancels vigil planned Friday night for missing Parma teen

PARMA, OH (WOIO) - A vigil for a missing Parma teen was cancelled Friday, but people are being asked to leave their porch lights on until 17-year-old Katarina Bitterman
comes home.

Bitterman, a student at Normandy High School, was last seen March 4 around 2:30 p.m. walking eastbound, away from her home on Augustine Drive in Parma. Bitterman did not take her cell phone with her, and police said witnesses who saw the girl walking Saturday said she didn't appear to be carrying any extra clothes and did not seem to be in a hurry.

Law enforcement agents from the Parma police department and the FBI are treating her case as that of an endangered missing person. She is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 120 pounds.

There was a search for the teen on Thursday, at the West Park Reservation area of the Cleveland Metroparks, but there were no searches Friday.

Cleveland 19 did see two mounted park rangers in the park who said they were on a routine patrol and not looking for Bitterman.

The fact that it has been nearly a week since friends and family spoke to Bitterman and that the weather has become more severe has officials concerned.

"It is definitely a concern, but like I said the investigation is ongoing and we're working on it right now and that's pretty much all I can say about the case now," said Captain Kevin Riley of the Parma Police Department.

Cleveland 19 has previously talked to Bitterman's boyfriend, Nathan Ziegler, who said she never talked about leaving home or running away. He said he can't imagine what happened, "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."

Friends have planned to search for Bitterman Saturday. They plan to meet at the Giant Eagle on Broadview at noon.

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


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