Crime

Reward for missing teenager increased to $50,000

On 15th birthday, Jabez Spann still missing

The family of Jabez Spann, who has been missing since early September, marked his 15th birthday on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Sarasota.
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The family of Jabez Spann, who has been missing since early September, marked his 15th birthday on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Sarasota.

The reward for information in the case of a missing Sarasota teen has been increased to $50,000, officials announced Thursday.

Though police have received numerous tips, Jabez Spann has been missing since Sept. 4 and investigators are still searching for him in an active and ongoing investigation, according to the Sarasota Police Department. A missing child alert was issued Sept. 18.

The FBI Tampa Division, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Sarasota Police Department have pooled funds to increase the reward. The FBI is contributing $44,000, FDLE is contributing $5,000 and the Sarasota Police Department is contributing $1,000, according to police.

The increase is double the amount offered by officials in October, which was an increase on the initial reward announced in September. Specifically, the FBI increased its share of the reward this round.

Detectives said they are still in daily contact with Jabez’s family.

There was no new information in the case Thursday, police said.

Jabez, who is described as about 5-foot-9 and 120 pounds, was last seen in the area of 22nd Street in Sarasota wearing a turquoise shirt.

Though police are not ready to confirm there’s a connection with his disappearance, court documents show that Jabez may have witnessed a murder a week before he went missing.

Reginald Parker, 55, told police he saw Jabez walk out of a house near the scene of where 31-year-old Travis Combs was killed on Aug. 28.

Not only did Parker say he saw Jabez there, he told police he heard the teen say, “Oh my God. Y’all shot him,” before taking off.

Police are investigating if there are any possible links between Jabez’s disappearance and the murder.

Parker was arrested Nov. 7 on a warrant for failure to appear. He later denied witnessing the murder and was subsequently charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Anyone with information on Spann’s whereabouts can call Sarasota Crime Stoppers at 941-366-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

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