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Year after Jabez Spann's disappearance, family champions community improvement

With carefree spirits, children played in Fred Atkins Park Saturday afternoon while adults remembered another child whose disappearance still haunts them, one year later.

Jabez Spann was 14 when he left his family's Labor Day party on September 4, 2017, and was never seen again.

Since then, court records revealed Spann may have witnessed a murder the week before his Labor Day disappearance.

His uncle says the family hasn't found the closure they desperately need.

"There's no words for it, there will never be rest," Larry Levine said.

Jabez's family also wants to make sure no other family has to feel the same as they have the last 365 days. They organized a child safety event in Sarasota Saturday, to raise awareness for parents on how to safeguard their children.

Brandy Cumpston, whose son played football with Jabez, says the community needs more resources.

"It's not just Jabez, we need to stop the violence," she said. "This whole community, we need help. We could have more police involvement with the community. The churches could come and help and support."

LINK: Missing teen's family begs public: Please bring him back home

In the past year, Spann's Family and police have relentlessly followed leads, but have come up empty-handed.

Levine says it's been an unending nightmare.

"When someone is missing, it's the worst feeling ever, there's no closure," he said.

Until they find it, they'll hold on to the memories they do have.

"I miss his laugh. He could make you laugh anytime," Cumpston said. "If you were having a bad day, when you saw him he smiled. All you saw was his smile. His heart was pure."

The reward for information leading Spann's location has increased to $50,000.

Anyone who may have information about where he is, or knows something related to his disappearance, is asked to make an anonymous tip to Sarasota Crime Stoppers at 941-366-TIPS.