By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Last weekend marked the 28th birthdate of Julius TaDarius Jones, who was last seen Aug. 14, 2011.
Although family members of Jones believe he is no longer alive, he will always be present in his mother's heart.
"It is a mother's choice to not believe her son is gone," said Tabitha Jones, Julius Jones' mother. "He is alive in me and will always be."
Add to the fact today is Mother's Day and the anguish over not knowing where her child is makes Tabitha Jones' heart ache even more.
"Mother's Day was one that was made more special when he was around," Tabitha Jones said quietly. "It would be the greatest gift to see him again."
A day after Julius Jones' disappearance, authorities with the Meridian Police Department found his car parked in the 1200 block of 27th Street in Meridian. Tabitha Jones has made plea after plea for anyone to come forward and give detectives a new direction in which to look for her son. Over the weeks, months and now years since his mysterious disappearance, nothing new has surfaced. No clues. No information. No body. It has left a void in the family, one which Tabitha Jones has been constantly trying to fill with anything so the family can cope with the loss.
"I don't really understand why this has happened to us but despite all the trials and tribulations we have been through, we will never give up on him," Jones said Thursday. "This is the hardest thing we've ever had to go through but we have faith that God has a reason for everything and we trust in Him."
There have been numerous searches locally for answers both by detectives with the Meridian Police Department and by those who knew Julius Jones. Julius Jones' story has been broadcast nationally. Flyers and word of mouth has spread to no avail. There is still nothing new in the case. Nothing MPD detectives or the family can grasp that will lead to any kind of conclusion.
It is frustrating to the family and they can't understand how during this modern day and age, with all the communications and information avenues available, how a person can seemingly drop of the face of the earth.
"It is a lot easier than you may think," said Meridian Police Department Capt. Dean Harper. "If you want to disappear, you can."
Harper, commander of the MPD's Criminal Investigation Division, said there is no evidence associated with Jones' case that would indicate any foul play was involved. He said the case remains open but admitted there have been no new leads in quite some time.
"Periodically, we are contacted by the National Crime Information Center, the entity law enforcement agencies send all their information of missing people and criminals, asking us to update our missing persons list. Jones is not the only person we have missing in our area but we confirmed that he and others are still missing and they are still listed on NCIC. If they get pulled over or have any other run-ins with law enforcement an alert on their name will pop up," Harper said.
Harper said he can remember clearly a girl whose case he worked in 1995 who has yet to surface so he is well aware there are thousands of individuals across the nation who seemed to have vanished without a trace.
And just as it seems today's technology can find people quickly, Harper maintains that same technology can make someone who is smart enough and tech savvy, disappear into thin air.
"It is real easy to make a fake ID," Harper said. "And you, being a normal person or an employer, wouldn't be able to tell the difference in it and a real ID."
Given that MPD authorities haven't noted any crime has been committed in connection with the case hasn't made the absence of Julius Jones any easier to take for the family. If he did decide to just leave without notice, without giving the family he has loved all his life any kind of reason, Tabitha Jones says that would be doubly hard to take.
"I just can't imagine he would do this to us," Tabitha Jones said. "I'm not saying that is not what happened but he has to know that would break our hearts. Not knowing where he is or how he is doing. I believe that someone out there did something terrible to him."
Tabitha Jones says she has nothing but good things to say about the detectives at the MPD who have been working on this case. She is not disputing their work. She simply can't fathom, knowing her son as she believes she does, he would willingly and without remorse for his family, put them through such turmoil.
A post office box, TaDarius Jones, P.O. Box 3103, Meridian, MS, 39305, has been set up to receive any information, no matter how obscure, that someone may have on his disappearance.
Harper says that if anyone has event the least bit of information, they can call Crime Stoppers at 601-485-1860. He said if and when something new is received, detectives will do all they can to pursue the lead. But until then, the case is in limbo.
"Right now we are waiting for that shred of information that may be the missing link," Harper said. "You never say never in this business."
As far as Tabitha Jones and her family is concerned, they never say never either.