Teen who went missing after witnessing father's murder found a year later alive in basement 50 miles away
An Ohio boy who went missing shortly after tragically witnessing his father's shooting death in August 2017 has been found by law enforcement, a year after the incident. 14-year-old Jacob Caldwell has reportedly found living in the basement of a home 50 miles away from the area of his disappearance and is said to have been healthy and not displaying any signs of abuse.
According to People, Jacob was reported missing by his grandmother six days after he and his two siblings witnessed their father Robert Caldwell's fatal shooting. His mother Tawney Caldwell, the shooter and her boyfriend Sterling Roberts, as well as four others, were indicted in the murders, and the 14-year-old was subsequently placed in the temporary custody of his paternal grandparents.
But Jacob would disappear a few days later, and he was last seen on surveillance footage outside a Sugarcreek Township Walmart. Authorities from the Monday believe he was picked up from there and then taken to his new residence. A fruitless year of searches later, they received a tip from someone with "credible" information about the teen's current location and zeroed-in on the house.
Having obtained a search warrant, the police made their way to the Miami Township home this past Monday night and found Jacob sleeping in the basement. People, citing the comments of Chief Michael Brown in a press conference, reported that Jacob was healthy but shy. Four other adults shared the home, but they were found not to be related to Jacob. However, authorities suspect they might share a connection with his mother.
Jacob was not forcibly restrained or hidden and appeared to have been staying off his own volition. He was apparently also sporting long hair as he had not had a haircut in over a year, and has not been to school or had any social interactions with anybody his age since his disappearance. Brown said the teen spent the entirety of the year watching TV and playing video games.
This news comes just a few days after ten digital billboards, donated by Lamar Advertising Company and Norton Outdoor Advertising, were installed along Interstate 75 and began displaying his missing posters in the hope it could help locate the teen. The FBI had gotten involved as well, offering a $15,000 reward to anyone with information about his whereabouts.
While he was not in distress when he was found, the 14-year-old is now in custody at a local juvenile detention center because of a warrant that was issued after he ran away from home on a previous occasion. He will be undergoing a psychiatric evaluation for trauma, and the police are said to be preparing to interview him as part of their investigation into his father's death. His family members are in touch with the authorities and have been notified of the latest developments.
The four adults' identities have not been released by the department yet and Brown says that the prosecutors plan on filing obstruction of justice charges against them, family members, and anyone else who may have "initiated him taking off that night."