SARASOTA, Fla (FOX 13) - Officials with the Sarasota Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday night the remains of a teen missing since 2017 has been found.
Jabez Spann went missing in September 2017. Since his disappearance, local, state, and federal law enforcement officers have worked to find him or anyone who may have brought him harm.
The Sarasota Police Department's deputy chief, Pat Robinson announced the case will now move forward as a death investigation after skeletal remains were found in Manatee County, west of Interstate 75. Robinson said dental records of the remains were matched with those of Jabez Spann.
The remains were found by a person repairing a fence in a rural part of western Manatee County.
Robinson would not specify exactly where Spann's remains were found, as investigators still have much more work to do at the site. However, he said it's not somewhere the teen would frequent and he does not believe Spann left Sarasota on his own volition. Robinson was not able to say how long the remains may have been at the location or if they had been moved there after the teen's death.
A cause of death had not been determined.
Officers are now asking the public to call in any tips that could lead to answers in the case.
“Call in, call a tip line, call Crime Stoppers, tell a pastor. If you don’t feel comfortable tell a friend. We will follow up on anything and everything that's brought to us,” Robinson said in Tuesday’s press conference. “This is a tragedy for our community. This is a tragedy for our investigative team. This is a tragedy for the Spann family. We are committed and will continue to be committed to solving this case.”
The FBI believed Spann witnessed the murder of 31-year-old Travis Combs on August 28, 2017.
Combs was found with a gunshot wound to his upper body in a grassy lot near 22nd Street and North Orange Avenue. There is still no word on whether it is connected to Spann’s disappearance.
Stay with FOX 13 as we continue to follow this developing story.