By Terri Ferguson Smith
If Julius TaDarius Jones had been at home on Monday, his 29th birthday, perhaps his family would have teased him about the last of the 20s, the big 3 — 0 coming up next year. Instead, the family of the young man who went missing more than three years ago had no cause to celebrate. After all this time, Tabitha Jones still doesn't know what happened to her son, but she has long suspected the worst.
Jones has been missing since Aug. 14, 2011, the last time his family saw him. On that day, they had had "a great dinner together and lots of laughs," Jones said.
"At being a young boy, I had no problems out of him," Jones said. "As he got older, he started to make some bad choices. We would always pray and keep going on."
On Monday, Jones wanted to take the opportunity to remind the community that her family still wants answers. A couple of days after her son's disappearance, Buick Century was found by Meridian Police Department patrolmen near an abandoned home on 27th Street.
"Rumors are rumors but we need somebody to come forward with some facts," Jones said. "We want closure. We need somebody to come with the truth."
Jones said there are good people in the community who may know something, even after all this time, that could help solve the mystery of her son's disappearance.
"We are praying that someone please tell what you know to the Meridian Police Department," Jones said. "It would be such a blessing to know us just to know what has happened to my firstborn. It is a struggle not knowing where he is."
His aunt, Lynne Whitehead, has a T-shirt with her nephew's photo on it, that says, "Stop the silence."
"I for one put this T-shirt on a lot and I still have those pictures on my truck," Whitehead said. "I get a lot of stares from some people. A couple of them have come up to me and said, 'You all still haven't found him?"
Jones said she does not believe her son is still alive, but not knowing is very difficult for her and the rest of the family.
"It's not easy. I wouldn't wish this on nobody. This is the hardest thing in my life, having to go through this day by day not knowing anything," she said. "This is terrible. It's unimaginable. We have faith. Our belief is in the Lord so that's what keeps me going."