Jabez Spann was 14 years old when he was found dead along a highway in Manatee County, Florida, nearly two years after he went missing.
On Sept. 4, 2017, Jabez attended a Labor Day event with his relatives in Sarasota, and afterward, he attended a candlelight vigil on 22nd Street and Palmadelia Avenue.
It was reported that he was with two boys the following morning, but that was the last sighting of him.
When relatives were unable to find him, Jabez was reported missing.
There were speculations that his disappearance had to do with his witnessing the murder of Travis Combs a week prior.
At around 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2017, Combs, 31, was visiting his aunt in Sarasota, Florida, when he was chased by three men into a desolate area in the 1600 block of 22nd Street, according to the Herald-Tribune.
That was purportedly around the same time Jabez walked out of his friends’ house, which is about 200 yards from his residence, and saw the men fatally shoot Combs in the chest.
Witnesses stated that Jabez exclaimed, “Oh, my God. Ya’ll shot him.”
The suspects fled the scene in Combs’ vehicle, which was later found burned in Manatee County. Sarasota police have yet to catch Combs’ killers.
Just one week after his death, Jabez went missing.
Jabez’s mother stated that he may have known too much, and they “hushed him.”
The Sarasota Police Department initially asserted that the allegations of the teen witnessing a murder were merely rumors, but they said recent documents put Jabez at the scene.
Sarasota Police Department Deputy Chief Pat Robinson said, “We are not going to speculate, at this moment, as to the connection to any other crime. This will be handled on its merits alone.”
“We’ll be going back and basically starting from the beginning, scouring our case files to ensure every lead, every tip was followed up on, everything was handled 100 percent. We are going to run this thing to the end.”
On the afternoon of Feb. 16, 2019, Jabez was found dead. A city employee repairing a fence line in Manatee County, just west of I-75, discovered his fully skeletonized remains nearby.
Dental records were used to identify the teen.
Jabez’s mother told ABC Action News that the family is heartbroken over the news about her son’s death. She said, “We thought we were prepared, but I guess that’s not something you can get prepared for.”
“We got some closure. We are going to put him to peace and lay him to rest, but I’m not done.”
Robinson stated in a news conference that “it’s unknown how long those skeletal remains were at the location, where they were located, or if they were transported there from somewhere else.”
Police officials have yet to release Jabez’s cause of death, nor have they released whether his death is being investigated as a homicide.
What they did state is that an investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved death of Jabez Spann is encouraged to contact Sarasota CrimeStoppers at (941) 366-8411.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.