Fourteen-year-old football player Jabez Spann was from a relatively safe neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida. The community was shocked when Spann went missing on September 4, 2017. According to People, he was reportedly last seen standing before a street corner memorial for a young man murdered the previous week.
The victim was 31-year-old Travis Combs, who was found dead with one bullet wound in his torso. There is one known witness to the crime, 55-year-old Reginald Parker, who told several people he saw the murder take place. He also claimed to have seen Spann in close proximity to where the incident took place. However, he failed to appear in court to share this information and was later apprehended by the police.
Spann’s mother, Tawana Spann, is now saying that she thinks her son was killed because he knew something about the crime that was committed.
“I think they hushed him,” she says. “I just don’t even know how this is happening.”
Police are investigating the possibility that Florida teen Jabez Spann may have witnessed a homicide shortly before he disappeared.— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) December 5, 2017
Can you, or someone you know, help find Jabez?https://t.co/v3Y5xnaFHx pic.twitter.com/LB5tf0l2tM
Spann was a popular athlete who lived for the sport of football.
“He played any position you needed him to play,” recalls the boy’s mother. “He always carried a football with him.”
Very little detail is known about the disappearance of the young athlete, and the FBI continues to search for clues about his whereabouts. Since his disappearance, the reward for information regarding Spann’s disappearance has risen to $50,000. Disappearances similar to that of Spann are unfortunately very common. Just last year alone, the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children reported 325 cases of children that disappeared without a trace. Often, years will go by without a single clue coming to light or any progress being made.
Despite the time that has passed, the Sarasota police force is not giving up on finding out what happened to the 14-year-old. Detective Megan Buck, who has been with the Sarasota police for 13 years, has been handling the case from the beginning. She says she still follows every lead, no matter how small.
Detective Buck has expressed her frustration that none of the people in Spann’s life have been willing to cooperate with police or offer any information that could prove to be beneficial.
“Somebody saw something and knows something,” she said. “It’s so sad and no one is helping. His friends aren’t talking. Nobody’s talking.”
Meanwhile, Spann’s mother is hoping her heartbreaking story will help other parents become more cautious about their children’s safety.
“You don’t want someone to feel that pain,” she said.