Sunday, September 4, 2022

Today in True Crime: September 4, 2022

Today's true crime anniversaries include an unsolved murder case and an unsolved disappearance. 



It has been 5 years since Jabez Spann went missing in Newtown, Florida. The then-14-year-old was last seen around 1:00 AM near MLK Way, where a Labor Day celebration was being held. Jabez was reported the next day after her did not show up at school.

Jabez's disappearance garnered up a lot of speculation and rumors in the local area. Despite this, the case seemed to go cold quickly. Nearly a year and a half later, a man fixing a fence in a rural area off of Interstate 75 spotted human remains. Three days later, those remains were confirmed to be that of Jabez Spann. His cause of death has never been disclosed, but the manner of death has been labeled as a homicide. 

No suspects have ever been publicly identified, but many believe Jabez's murder is related to another murder that he witnessed just days before he disappeared. On August 28th, 2017, a man named Travis Combs was shot to death in Sarasota during a robbery. Another man named Reginald Parker claimed that he, too, witnessed Combs' murder, and he saw Jabez present on the scene. Parker said that the suspects saw Jabez witness the shooting, and are also likely responsible for his disappearance that occurred just days later.

Parker provided all of this information to Jabez's family about two months after his disappearance. Parker also told three other individuals about this event. However, when police questioned Parker about this, he witnessing the murder and he denied telling Jabez's family or the other individuals about it. Still, many still believe that Jabez's disappearance and murder is related to Travis Combs' murder. His case remains unsolved.


My thoughts on this case...

He was only 14 years-old. That is so young...it's so heartbreaking that Jabez's life was taken from both him and his family. If Jabez actually did witness the murder of Travis Combs, it seems likely that their cases are connected. Still, Reginald Parker appears to be an unreliable witness. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, though, Parker only recanted his statement to police because he did not want retaliation from the suspects. If anyone has more information about this, reach out to me! I'd love to expand more on this case. I want Jabez to receive justice.

Case #2-

image source

Today marks 15 years since LaToya Grissom vanished at the age of 25. At the time of her disappearance, LaToya lived in Texarkana, Texas with her grandmother and her children. She was last seen getting into a dark-colored sedan outside of her residence. LaToya never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again.

LaToya's case went cold quickly. Over three years after her disappearance, some clues were finally found. In October 2010, LaToya's purse and other personal items were found scattered around a creek in the local area. Though this find was significant, as it was the only sign of LaToya that had been seen in years, the find also did not seem to bring investigators any closer to finding LaToya herself. 

Then, news about LaToya seemed to fade away for almost 10 years. Finally, in August 2020, investigators announced that they received new information and they were executing search warrants. This appeared to be a step in the right direction, but authorities have not provided any updates since then. LaToya still remains missing today.

My thoughts on this case...

There's unfortunately not a lot of information out there on the investigation into LaToya's case. The August 2020 update seemed hopeful at the time, but now two years have passed without any further updates. That makes me think of two things: 1) detectives have their suspect but are still missing the evidence they need to press charges or 2) the leads detectives received in 2020 led them in a false direction. 

If it's scenario #1, then I suspect that finding LaToya will allow detectives to finally move forward with charges. Mind you - I could be wrong about this theory, but either way I hope for both LaToya and her loved ones that she is found.

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