Crime

A Florida teen witnessed a murder. A week later, he disappeared

Jabez Spann, 14, of Sarasota, has been missing since Sept. 4, 2017.
Jabez Spann, 14, of Sarasota, has been missing since Sept. 4, 2017.

The Sarasota teen who was reported missing in early September witnessed a homicide exactly one week before his disappearance, according to court documents.

Jabez Spann, 14, was last seen on Sept. 4 at a Labor Day barbecue with his family in the area of 22nd Street in Sarasota. He is 5 feet, 9 inches, weighs 120 pounds and was last seen wearing a turquoise shirt. A reward of up to $25,000 from the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Sarasota Police Department is available for knowledge of his whereabouts.

According to court documents, 55-year-old Reginald Parker told at least three people that he had witnessed 31-year-old Travis Combs’ murder on Aug. 28. Combs was found with one gunshot wound to the upper torso in a grassy lot in the 1600 block of 22nd Street.

Parker told one person that he had been in the area that night when three men yelled, “Give it up,” to Combs, who responded, “I ain’t got it.” One shot was fired, according to court documents, and two of the men ran while one drove off in Combs’ car.

The 55-year-old said he saw Spann walk out of a nearby house as the incident occurred.

“Oh my God,” Spann said, according to Parker’s account of the incident to one person. “Y’all shot him.”

On Nov. 7, Parker was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear. During an interview with detectives, he denied that he saw Combs’ murder or that he spoke to the three people, all of whom provided sworn statements to detectives. Parker was subsequently charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Law enforcement searched for Spann in areas of Sarasota and Manatee counties. Before Hurricane Irma hit, a reverse 911 call was made in hopes of collecting tips.

Anyone with information about Spann’s whereabouts can contact the Sarasota Police Department at 941-316-1201 or Sarasota Crime Stoppers by calling 941-361-8477, or by going online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

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