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'Absolute tragedy': Police find body of young boy missing since 2020

Authorities said 12-year-old Jaylen Griffin told his family he was headed to a store nearly four years ago but never returned.
'Absolute tragedy': Police find body of young boy missing since 2020
Posted at 11:13 AM, Apr 16, 2024

Police in New York say the search for a missing 12-year-old boy has come to a tragic end. At a news conference Monday afternoon, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia announced the body of Jaylen Griffin has been found and identified.

Authorities say Griffin, who has been missing since August 2020, was found dead inside a home Friday morning. Gramaglia called the discovery "an absolute tragedy" during the news conference.

Griffin was last seen on August 4, 2020, when he told his family he was walking to a store. But he never returned home. In the years since, an aged-progressed photo of him was distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Buffalo Police Department’s Special Victims Unit assigned two detectives to the case. Detective Joelle Bence and Detective Jon Weber spent the past seven months tracking down every lead that has come in since Griffin went missing.

Word of his death Monday marks the latest chapter in a story of heartbreak for his family. Three months after he disappeared, his 18-year-old brother Jawaan was shot and killed across the street from the family’s house. Then last fall, Griffin’s mother, Joanne Ponzo, died unexpectedly, never knowing what happened to her son.

“I think she died of a broken heart,” family advocate Kareema Morris told Scripps News Buffalo last month. Morris is the founder of the organization Bury the Violence. “Everyone’s talking but no one’s coming forth and that’s a problem. They know something and they need to just give this family, you know, peace.”

Crime Stoppers — which was offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to the whereabouts or recovery of Griffin — remains involved in this case. Anyone with information can call 716-867-6161, or call or text the Buffalo Police confidential tip line at 716-857-2255.

This story was originally published by DJ Hromowyk at Scripps News Buffalo.

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