A woman arrested for breaking into an Ivory Tower residence hall room in August has been missing for more than a month and a warrant is still out for her arrest, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Shunita Ellerbe, a 29-year-old Southwest D.C. resident, arrived to court Sept. 15 for her status hearing. After being directed to wait in the courtroom, Ellerbe said she “needed to tell her mother where she was,” and left, according to court documents. She did not return to the courtroom, and a bench warrant for her arrest was issued.
“There was an initial status hearing on Sept. 15 that she failed to appear for,” Sheila Miller, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said. “The bench warrant is still out. They have no idea where the defendant is.”
Ellerbe’s arrest coincided with nearly 20 burglaries reported in University residence halls in August, but Ellerbe has not been charged with burglary.
The bench warrant orders the Metropolitan Police Department to arrest Ellerbe and bring her to the Superior Court of D.C. Miller said, however, that in most cases, officers do not actively search for the subjects of bench warrants, unless it is a high-profile case.
“However, if [Ellerbe] gets picked up for something, the officers will see it,” Miller said.
Ellerbe was found in an Ivory Tower room Aug. 23 after a sleeping student woke to her standing near a desk. Sophomore Lindsey Henry said she had been sleeping in her friend’s room when she noticed Ellerbe and asked her what she was doing, Henry said.
Shiv Mohini, a resident of the room, said Ellerbe “began mumbling and said she was looking for her friend and ran out of the room,” according to an MPD report of the incident.
UPD officers found her in Ivory Tower later that day in possession of a black bag belonging to someone else. After her arrest, Ellerbe was barred from entering any on-campus buildings.
In almost all of the burglaries reported in August, students had not locked their door. The University subsequently placed stickers in buildings reminding students to make sure their doors are always locked.