Though the girls told the police that they wanted to run away fearing repercussions for their low grades, the headmistress said the teachers had not chastised them for their marks

After a night of panic and frenzied search, four teenaged girls, whose parents reported them missing as they did not come home from school in the city on Friday, reappeared on Saturday morning after spending the night looking for work as domestic help.

The Class VIII girls, all aged around 13, of Capitanio High School here were found around 6 a.m. in the house of an elderly woman at Shivbagh in the city. According to school headmistress Jacinta Cardoza, the girls were last seen around 4.30 p.m. when a teacher asked them to head to their residences as the school would be closed for the day. “Classes end at 3.30 p.m. and they had one-hour rehearsal for the Rajyostava function. Even though other children had gone home, the teacher spotted them sitting in a group and talking. The last they were seen was walking out of the gates,” she said.

The girls, among whom two are from Kannur and one each from Kodikal and Padil, headed to Shivbagh, asking house owners if they had work for them. “They claimed to have come from Puttur and asked for work in houses. Most said no, and they roamed around in the area till late in the night when an old woman saw them and offered them a place to stay. She gave them food and took care of them,” said Ms. Cardoza.

Early in the morning, the girls spilled the beans, and the police, who had been searching for them, returned them to their parents.

Though the girls told the police that they wanted to run away fearing repercussions for their low grades, the headmistress said the teachers had not chastised them for their marks. When the girls did not return home till 8 p.m. on Friday, their parents and relatives rushed to the school premises and demanded that the school be opened and searched. The police intervened and searched the surrounding areas till 1 a.m.

Four Ujire college boys missing

Four students of SDM Technical Institute, Ujire, have been reported missing since Friday. They did not attend classes or return home on Friday.

According to a complaint filed at the Belthangady police station on Saturday by the uncle of one of the boys, his nephew Udaya B.L, and his friends Nithin Raj, Nuthan H.C. and Bopanna, all aged 17, left for college around 8 a.m. but did not return home in the evening.

While Nithin Raj stayed in hostel, the rest were living with their relatives nearby. The diploma students, said to be friends, were seen by their batch mates in the college. But the four did not attend classes. Only one of them had a cellphone and was now untraceable, the police said.

The police suspect that the four boys might have gone on an extended holiday without informing their guardians.

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