As an international robotics competition in the U.S. capital was wrapping up, the chaperone of the Burundi team was confronting his worst nightmare: He couldn't find his kids.
He looked in the college dorms where the six teens — ages 16 to 18 — had been staying. Their bags were packed and gone. Maybe they got on the wrong bus? Officers swept through DAR Constitution Hall. They were gone.
Police now say that two of the six were seen crossing into Canada, and they don't suspect foul play with any of them. Event organizers said Thursday that their disappearance may have been "self-initiated." A member of the Burundi-American community was a little more straightforward, saying he has little doubt the teens are seeking asylum, though he emphasized he had no direct knowledge of the situation.
Police in D.C. posted missing-person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday's final matches.
Don Ingabire, 16, and Audrey Mwamikazi, 17, were later seen crossing into Canada, Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Aquita Brown said Thursday.
Marilu Cabrera, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services, which receives asylum applications, said the agency does not comment on whether specific individuals have sought asylum. Canadian immigration authorities also declined to comment.