Missing Sarasota teen's family hopes higher reward money helps find him

Jabez Spann's family speaks out in hopes of finding teen after reward raised to $50K

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A Sarasota teen has been missing now for nearly four months. Police say there are no new updates, but investigators and Jabez Spann’s family hope by raising the reward to fifty-thousand dollars, there will be new leads.

“Not knowing, not knowing where he’s at, what happened. We need closure,” said Latohya Jakes, Jabez’s aunt.

Instead of Christmas decorations, 'Happy Birthday' banners and balloons decorate the front lawn along with a football jersey belonging to now 15-year-old Jabez Spann.

Latohya said, “No one’s been in the holiday spirit. We want to bring him home.”

Jabez was last seen September 4th on Labor Day. The family says they try to stay optimistic. “We’re not giving up hope, we will not stop searching.”

Jabez’s aunt knows time isn’t on their side. Latohya said, “Right now, it’s been too long, we somewhat fear the worst.”

The family hopes by the FBI doubling the reward money to fifty-thousand dollars, they’ll get a break in the case. “I hope it’ll get someone to come forward and tell us what happened,” said Latohya.

The key to solving Jabez’s disappearance may be in solving the murder of Travis Combs. One witness who has recanted his story told the Jabez family the teen witnessed Travis’s murder. A week later, Jabez disappeared.

“I do believe it’s connected, we just have to figure out how,” said Latohya.

“The two are connected and if we can solve one, we can solve the other,” adds Travis' aunt, Teresa Richardson. She says those who know something are too scared to go to the police.

Teresa said, “They fear for their safety. There’s nothing to provide for their safety or their family’s safety if they come forward. Why are they scared? People have already been threatened.”

Jabez’s aunt hopes those who know hear her plea. She said, “Put yourself in our shoes. You would want someone to come forward if it were your child.”

Jabez, if you’re watching, your family has a Christmas surprise.

“Come on home, we have a PS4 waiting for you,” said Latohya.

Jabez’s aunt thinks he went willingly with someone and may be too scared to return home, thinking he’s in trouble. She reassures him he’s not.

“I love you. We miss you and want you home,” said Latohya. She added, “If he walked through that door, God. Oh, Jesus, that would be the biggest Christmas gift we can all get.”

The Sarasota Police Department says they can’t comment because both cases are open investigations. 

But if anyone has information, in either case, they are asked to call the police department or Crime Stoppers at 941-361-TIPS or 911. You can remain anonymous.

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