Search for missing son drives mother to help those still searching

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When 14-year-old Jabez Spann vanished in Sept. 2017, his mother never gave up hope. 

She placed missing fliers in the Newtown neighborhood of Sarasota, Florida and knocked on strangers' doors in an effort to keep his image in the public eye. 

"For 18 months I searched for him," she said. "I worked at my job and I was a total zombie there. You can’t really focus." 

As each agonizing day passed, the pain inside Tawana Spann grew. 

"People don’t really realize there is a silent suffering that happens when you’re looking for a missing child," said Spann. 

One part of Tawana's search ended in February when Jabez's remains were found in a rural area of Manatee County. 

Her search for the person who harmed her son has never stopped, but now she has another calling. 

"I was fortunate to find my baby, but there's a lot of people out there that never do. I just want them to know there is somebody out there that knows and feels what they’re going through and give them a hand when they really need it," she said. 

Tawana has set up the Jabez Spann Foundation. Her goal is to bring awareness to missing children and to help their families with what is usually a costly and emotional search. 

"I didn’t want to forget about how no one really pays attention to those people," she said. 

On Saturday the Jabez Spann Foundation will gather at Truvine Missionary Baptist Church in Sarasota to hold a blood bank and fundraiser in Jabez's name. It's a small step towards a bigger picture of helping a community come together. 

"It's not just about Jabez. It’s about all these young lives that are being impacted by the violence that’s being put here. It has to be something else another awareness everybody else is trying to help the community, but the community has to help the community," said Spann. 

The blood bank and fundraiser will be held Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m-2 p.m at Truvine Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1947 31st street, Sarasota, Florida 34234.

For each person that donates blood, $10 dollars will be donated in support of the Jabez Spann Foundation. 

Donations can be made by visiting