A 14-year-old Florida boy who has been missing for nearly three months may have witnessed a murder a week before he disappeared, according to a new report.
Jabez Spann was last seen at a candlelight vigil for the murder victim on Labor Day Sept 4, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported Friday. The search to find him includes the FBI, Sarasota police and several other law enforcement agencies.
The paper reported Friday that a police report for the first time places Spann at the scene of the Aug. 28 killing of Travis Combs--a circumstance that had previously only been rumored.
Combs, 31, died of a gunshot wound to the chest after being chased into a grassy field next to his home by three men who were trying to rob him.
The report said Spann heard the gunshot as he was leaving a friend’s house on the same street where the shooting took place, according to the paper. Spann lived in a house around the corner.
“Oh, my God. Y’all shot him,” Spann was quoted as saying in the report as the suspects scattered, two on foot and one in Combs’ car, the paper reported.
The paper quoted the police report as saying that a 55-year-old man named Reginald Parker heard what Spann said and told another person who told police. That person also told police that Parker claimed to have witnessed Combs' murder.
The Herald Tribune didn't identify the person, but WWSB-TV reported the person was Lucille Tillery, Spann's grandmother. The station cited a court affidavit for the information.
The paper reported that Parker denied telling anyone he saw the shooting when he was interviewed by detectives at the Sarasota jail, the paper reported.
The report accuses Parker of being an accessory to murder for impeding the investigation into Combs’ murder, the paper reported.
Parker was interviewed by detectives after being arrested Nov. 7, the paper reported. Online records show Parker was charged on that date with violating Florida’s sex offender registration law.
On Sept. 26, the missing boy’s mother and grandmother attended a police news conference on his disappearance.
“There has to be somebody that knows something," his mother Tawana Spann said, according to Fox 13 Tampa. "This is a human being that we're talking about. Being afraid has to go out the window at this point. We might be the only people that can actually help him, wherever he is."
The station quoted Tillery as saying "That's my baby. All I'm asking is for somebody, please, please help us. It hurts. Just give him back to us. We just want him back. This could be anybody's child. We want him back home. And I'm begging, please bring him back home."
The station’s report also quoted Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette Dipino as saying that she had heard rumors that Spann may have witnessed a violent crime but detectives had not received any credible tips that would validate it.